Description of Vegetation of the Oak Openings of Northwestern Ohio at the Time of Euro-American Settlement
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Citation:The Ohio Journal of Science, v104, n4 (September, 2004), 76-85.
Original land survey notes were used to produce a map of the Oak Openings of northwestern Ohio showing the vegetation at the time of Euro-American settlement (1817-1832). For that period, the area of the Oak Openings was 43% Oak Savanna, 27% Wet Prairie, 23% Oak Woodland, 7% Oak Barrens, and <1% Floodplain Forest. The composition of the tree layer was determined from analysis of records of bearing and line trees recorded by the land surveyors. The tree layer of each of the four major vegetation types was dominated by Quercus alba, with Q. velutina as a subdominant. Quercus palustris was also a subdominant in Oak Barrens and Wet Prairie. Tree density averaged 90 trees/ha in Oak Woodland, 14 in Oak Savanna, 2 in Oak Barrens, and <1 in Wet Prairie. The composition of the shrub and herb layers was estimated based primarily on the literature of the region and our own field research. Today most stands of the four major vegetation types have been eliminated by urbanization and agriculture, or have changed to forests as tree densities increased with the absence of fire and increased soil drainage. Extant Oak Savannas and Oak Woodlands are different in composition from those present at Euro-American settlement.
Author Institution: Dept of Botany, Miami University
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