Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) expansion, effects, and control
This literature review focuses on the expansion of redcedar into the tallgrass prairie of the Great Plains and upper Midwest, United States. The review is a collaboration between the Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium and the Great Plains Fire Science Exchange. Our goal is to review the expansion and ecological repercussions of redcedar encroachment and to summarize the best practices for control of redcedar in the tallgrass prairie region.
Redcedar occurs throughout the northern Great Plains and Midwest and east to the Atlantic coast. The cedar populations interspersed in tallgrass prairie were historically limited on the landscape to rocky outcroppings where competition from other plants is low and fire is unlikely to occur. Redcedar is likely to continue to expand throughout its range as a result of fire exclusion, development, and climate change.
- Changes in wildland fire regime have led to an expansion of eastern redcedar in tallgrass prairie.
- Increased eastern redcedar leads to decreased herbaceous biodiversity, decreased forage production, and increased Wildland Urban Interface concerns.
- Prescribed fire is most effective for controlling small trees, or maintaining sites where eastern cedar is not a problem; mechanical treatments may be necessary for dealing with larger trees.
- Control of eastern redcedar is an ongoing process; there is not a one-time solution to the problem.
Ecological effects of fire in Great Lakes savannas and prairies
This review summarizes the findings of over 250 studies from the region to describe fire effects on vegetation, wildlife, and nutrient cycles. The prairie-savanna ecosystem was broadly defined here to include landscape mosaics of prairie, savanna, fen, and wet meadow communities.
The southern Great Lake region includes parts of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, and southeast Ontario. Delineation of the study area purposefully avoided the well-studied prototypic tallgrass prairie ecosystems of the central United States (e.g., central Illinois, Iowa, Kansas) because these ecosystems are associated with a different ecological province.