Assessment and management forecast of the “Grove”, an urban forest fragment on the campus of Kalamazoo College
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Prior to European settlement, open savanna and continuous forest covered 95 percent of Michigan. Michigan’s ever-changing forests have since regenerated into many different community structures, including closed mesic desiduous forest, which once blanketed Southwestern Michigan. The natural history of Kalamazoo College indicates the transition from oak savanna to closed forest to urban area. The Grove is an area of land on Kalamazoo College campus that has been isolated due to urbanization and can be defined as an urban forest fragment. This plot of land has not been converted to agriculture or built upon and therefore maintains the associated plants of a dry-mesic deciduous forest. In 2013, Kalamazoo College will begin the 13 month construction of the Arcus Center; it will be located directly adjacent to the Grove, which has led to interest in the maintenance and management of the Grove. In this study I investigate the viability of the Grove as a dry-mesic Michigan forest and develop an active management plan to restore the Grove to a sustainable landscape.