A few months ago I wrote a post critical of the types of hasty, ill-concieved, and poorly executed efforts that are sold to the public as ecological restoration.
The work done at Vestal Grove in Cook County, Illinois has been wildly successful, but it also required ecological competance and sustained effort. Read about it in this fantastic article published in PLOS ONE and at the YaleE360 blog. This is what restoration is, and it is proof that it’s possible.
I’m thinking about Franklin Savanna. It’s a failed site now, but it’s ripe for restoration, and it’s the best opportunity to restore savanna on deep, mesic soils in the Wisconsin Coastal Zone. The know-how is out there. Franklin Savana also falls within the Great Lakes watershed, so there is a deep well of potential funding for restoration projects. We should demand better as citizens.
Killing invasive species is not restoration. Planting trees and prairie plants is not restoration. Burning is not restoration. A volunteer work party is not restoration. Restoration includes some or all of these things, but it also requires prolonged stewardship and well-conceived, ecologically appropriate goals that do not dismiss the possible in favor of what’s easy.
Above: Another Franklin Savanna, a better Franklin Savanna, but this isn’t the one in MIlwaukee County.