Grassland Restoration Presentation
Saturday, May 19, 2018
2:00pm – 2:15pm
Come and see Bert Harris present on our grassland restoration plans at the Virginia Society of Ornithology annual meeting in Harrisonburg, VA. We hope to see you there! The abstract of the talk is below.
How Should We Restore Virginia Piedmont Grasslands for Birds Under Climate Change?
The Clifton Institute is an environmental organization that is working to restore a 90-hectare cattle pasture in Fauquier County. In 2019 we will use experimental management treatments to evaluate which methods work best to eliminate exotic plants and promote the persistence of declining grassland bird, insect, and plant species. We are grappling with conflicting advice from the literature and experts with respect to the goals of the restoration, seed sources, and management techniques. Some restorationists recommend managing for stable plant species rank-abundance over time, while others allow substantial variation in species composition from year to year. With respect to see sources, some experts suggest that seed be collected strictly within 50 km of the restoration site, while others recommend including seeds collected to the south of the site, including species that are not currently native to the area, in preparation for range shifts from climate change. For management, some studies recommend annual fires, while others suggest burning as infrequently as every four years. Lastly, we have been forced to balance using the ideal restoration methods with the practicalities of raising enough funds to support expensive botanical surveys, seed collection, and controlled burns. In this presentation we will report on the path we have chosen with respect to the issues above as a case study of pragmatic decision making in experimental grassland restoration.
710 South Main St.