Conservation Biology of Eastern Tallgrass Prairie: Integrating Issues of Management and Restoration for the 21st Century
Panzer, Ron .
Prevalence and status of conservative insects on prairie and sand savanna remnants within the severely fragmented Chicago Wilderness region.
The identification and inventory of remnant-requiring (conservative) species is an essential prerequisite to sound reserve selection and management in severely fragmented regions. We expanded an ongoing study of insect conservatism to include approximately 1200 additional species on 50 prairie and savanna remnants in the Chicago Wilderness Region. Approximately 700 field surveys were conducted between 1995 – 2006, with special emphasis placed on 18 high quality nature reserves. Our major objectives were to gauge the incidence of conservatism among remnant-inhabiting insects, to determine the status of conservative species, to determine the extent to which species richness has declined throughout the system, and to determine the extent to which small, isolated remnants contribute to the survival of these vulnerable species. To examine the premise that vulnerable insects far outnumber their plant and vertebrate counterparts, we compiled a list of conservative plants and special-concern vertebrates as well. Of 2505 species identified since 1982, 17% were determined to require remnant habitats. While declines in regional conservative species richness have been modest, the steep slopes of species-area curves suggest that losses on smaller sites have been pronounced, especially for butterflies. Whereas many species were frequently encountered on sites supporting their requisite habitats, 165 were rarely or never encountered. We conclude that conservative insect species far outnumber conservative plant and special-concern vertebrates species in our area, and given their apparent rarity, should play a pivotal role in the establishment of conservation priorities within Chicago Wilderness, and probably throughout much of the Midcontinental United States as well.
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1 - Northeastern Illinois University, Biology, 5500 N. St Louis Ave, Chicago, IL, 60505, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Williford B/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
Time: 1:30 PM