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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: America’s canebreaks: An ecosystem management challenge
Year: 2002
Author(s): Brantley, C. G., Platt, S.
Source Title: Proceedings of the Third Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 109-113
Original Publication:  
Abstract: Canebreaks are regarded as critcally endangered ecosystems, having been greatly reduced from their former extent. Although can is still found as mostly an understory component in a variety of forest types throughout the southeastern United States, at one time, cane breaks were a dominant landscape feature. Historic accounts indicate the hundreds of thousands of hectares characterized this ecosystem. It will take a goal-driven approach based on a vision of desired future condition to restore and maintain a viable canebreak ecosystem. This approach must integrate various ecological, economic, and social factors. In order for scientists and land managers to make effective contributions, the White House Ecosystem Task Force developed principles and guidelines for ecosystem management. These principles and guidelines can be applied to the remaining cane areas in the southeastern US. Recently, several of these items have been addressed, and while it has been simple to address the sustainability, native biological diversity, and best science components of the Task Force guidelines, measurements such as ecological units, time frames, and health of the ecosystem will likely need determined coordination coordination between the public and private sectors. An effective management plan must adequately describe appropriate space and time scales for canebreaks as well as an evaluation of the effect of cumulative small-scale consequences will have on the larger landscape. There is also a need to develop and apply multiple indicators that will accurately reflect a viable and functioning ecosystem. We emphasize the use of natural processes in restoring and maintaining the canebreak ecosystem. Development of a set of indicators of canebreak ecosystem progress and the success of restoration strategies will evaluate the overall performance of canebreak ecosystem restoration.
Publisher: The North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, NC, October 1-3, 2002. Omnipress, Madison, WI
Editor(s): J. Randall