« Research briefs focused on fire ecology of oak savannas »

Responses to the 2016 evaluation survey showed that research briefs for resource managers are highly-valued by land managers and other practitioners. Here are links to a handful of briefs from oak savanna research sites in Iowa and Illinois that may have slipped by many of our regular newsletter readers.


We also have several tools to help you find the research briefs most relevant for you. Our Research Briefs page includes a map, tags, and a comprehensive table. 


“Influence of Fire History on High Quality Oak Savannas”


This study examined how the structure of high quality oak savanna sites may have been influenced by a history of fire, grazing, and single tree selection harvesting.

Implications for managers:

  • Including punctuated longer fire free intervals in management plans can allow for recruitment in frequently burned sites  

  • Combining prescribed fire with other disturbances (grazing, single tree harvest) can be used as part of land management plans in oak savannas to achieve uneven age structure on restoration sites

  • Restoration plans should incorporate strategies for removing woody and herbaceous invasive species prior to implementing fire free intervals that allow for oak regeneration

“Differences Between Upland and Lowland Savannas May Indicate Need For Different Restoration Strategies”


The authors of this study wondered if upland savannas are a good reference surrogate for lowland savannas or if there are key differences in how these sites respond to restoration techniques.

Implications for managers:

  • Using upland savanna restoration strategies in lowland savanna sites may lead to loss of unique lowland characteristics

  • Multiple historical sources (e.g., maps, surveyor descriptions, tree density) provide a more comprehensive view of past conditions

“Do Open-Grown Oaks Indicate Former Savannas?”


One method for identifying former oak savannas is identifying open grown oaks. However, some of these large, open-grown trees have established post-settlement.

The most notable result of this study may be that the open-grown oaks on this site were established post-settlement. The open-grown characteristics likely developed as the result of a savanna-like landscape being maintained through grazing and possibly periodic fire.