Tom's Blog

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

New book for Download: Restoring a Fragile Landscape (Pleasant Valley Conservancy)

We are announcing the availability for free download of a new book which should be of interest to restoration ecologists. It was written by Thomas D. Brock and Katherine M. Brock and is based on their extensive restoration work at Pleasant Valley Conservancy. 

This book is the first volume of what is intended to be a two- or three-volume presentation of the 20-year restoration history of Pleasant Valley Conservancy, a 140-acre dedicated State Natural Area. Pleasant Valley Conservancy is a natural area in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area with diverse habitats: tallgrass prairies, oak savannas, oak woodlands, and wetlands. It was once fairly degraded but has a large number of venerable oaks that have survived from presettlement days.

Although this book covers all aspects of the restoration process of a natural area, special emphasis is placed on oak savanna restoration…. The oak savanna landscape is globally endangered. It was once widespread in Midwestern North America and has mostly disappeared due to human settlement. Pleasant Valley Conservancy is one of the rare examples of this landscape. The book is extensively illustrated with photos taken throughout the restoration process.

The field of restoration ecology is relatively new. Fortunately, southern Wisconsin is restoration ecology’s historic center, and the restoration work at Pleasant Valley Conservancy has greatly benefited from association with both university and non-university restorationists. The restoration community here is large and vibrant. The spirit of John Muir and Aldo Leopold lives!

Most of the habitats at Pleasant Valley Conservancy are fire-dependent, and controlled burns have been a vital part of our restoration work. At one time or another, fire has been used in almost every part of Pleasant Valley Conservancy. Many of the habitats are burned annually.

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