Big Prairie Restoration: Documenting the Changes

Two views of the same place, one taken right as we began clearing the broom on Thursday, and the next on Saturday morning.  This was a young broom thicket, just getting established, but even so you can see the marked diminution of grasses and flowering plants at its center.

This next sequence is dramatic before-and-after footage of a hugely important location, as it is taken right inside the wavefront of broom expansion into the native prairie.  You can see how the leading edge of the broom thicket rapidly goes from a few plumes of waving yellow branches, to a moderately dense forest of young stems, to an increasingly dark, grassless, flowerless place.

For consistency’s sake I begin this video at the southwest corner of Plot 2, which is inside the wavefront, then go east toward light and air, north and west along the leading edge, and then south back into the thick of things.

Big Prairie Plot 2, Before Broom Removal

And here is how it looked from the grasses’ perspective, the native flowers’ perspective, at ground level on the inside.

Stakes are in place, photos are taken, and the restoration work begins…

And here is how it looks with the broom peeled back.  This view is looking west at essentially the whole plot, with the southwestern corner–formerly in the densest part of the thicket–now visible in the left middle distance.  Though it was a young thicket you can see how the ground became progressively more barren the further into it you went.  Now, though, this portion of the prairie has a chance to recover!

And these are the folks who made it happen!

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