Because our Timberhill Oak Savanna restoration has been so successful I am often told that Bill and I found a unique site with unusually high restoration potential-that what we did here is not possible elsewhere. That simply isn’t true. Many overstocked woodlands have the same potential for biodiversity and wildlife habitat as Timberhill. All they need is management. For example Decatur County, Iowa has 20,000 acres of highly restorable savanna remnants. In eastern Nebraska management at sites such as Indian Cave State Park are producing results similar to those at Timberhill. Prescribed fire and timber stand improvement in Missouri state parks such as Ha Ha Tonka are also producing high quality results.
Private landowners need not have expertise to manage their woodlands. Neither Bill nor I did. But we learned: by trial and error, by following the advice of experts and our own instincts. How we proceeded and what we learned is described in my book, Timberhill: Chronicle of a Restoration. It documents how:
- We studied land history documents including General Land Office survey notes, aerial photos, and publications by early botantists to learn the story of our land and determine what was originally prairie, what woodland, and what wetland.
- We worked with our district forester to implement a timber stand improvement plan.
- We learned to use prescribed fire and determined the best fire regimen.
- Without any seeding the Timberhill plant list increased from 100 to over 460 vascular plants
- Management increased bird habitat particularly for the threatened red-headed woodpecker and declining neo-tropical migrants
- The ectomycrrohizal fungi increased in abundance and diversity
- The natural processes particularly hemi-parasitic plants such as wood betony and bastard toadflax are restoring habitat for rare plants
The book is now available from Amazon as an ebook as well as hard copy.