The Reed Turner Woodland
Land Restoration Project
As odd as it may sound, much of the land set aside in this country as preserve must be artificially "brought back" to a natural state. Over the past 200 years, the encroachment of civilization has altered the face of the landscape through agriculture and through the introduction of non-native species of plants and animals.
The restoration of land is a painstaking and expensive process. In the case of the Reed Turner Woodland, the area was becoming invaded by a variety of non-native trees, shrubs and plants, many of which were choking out indigenous species. Two of the major culprits continue to be Buckthorn and Garlic Mustard. Each year volunteers are recruited to canvas the preserve, spraying the invasives with herbicide or even physically removing them.
One aspect of human interaction with nature is the suppression of the very natural and misunderstood role of fire. Prairie fires started by lightning strikes were quite common and had become a part of the health of the prairie and woodlands. Thick underbrush and layers of dry leaves were cleared by the occasional fire. These fires would quickly burn across the surface of the land, leaving the root systems of native trees and plants intact, and creating less congestion.
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