||Native Warm-Season Grass Restoration on a Piedmont North Carolina Landscape
|| Sharpe, T. L., Sawyer, D. T., Howard, B., Hayes, D. A.
||Proceedings of the 4th Eastern Native Grass Symposium
||The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission worked with 24 landowners on a 5,000-acre area in the western Piedmont to restore wildlife populations dependent on tall grass and early succession habitat. Habitat was established on narrow field borders (10 to 12 feet wide), wide field borders (24 to 60 feet wide), habitat blocks (0.21 to 4.45 acres), and forage blocks (1.0 to 10 acres). Habitat was established by killing existing vegetation with herbicide and
seeding with a no-till drill or allowing volunteer vegetation to become established on former cropland. We have been successful in establishing high-quality habitat on wide field borders,
habitat blocks, and forage plots. Narrow field borders, which were offered by landowners at no cost, have suffered from shading, competition with other nonnative grasses and encroachment
from adjacent woodlands and farming operations. Our experiences indicate that efforts expended on private lands to establish native grass and early succession habitat are sustainable and have
the potential to be adopted by additional landowners. Success has been greater with wide borders and large habitat blocks that are clearly delineated on the ground and that include economic
incentives such as rental payments or forage production in addition to wildlife benefits. Challenges of landscape-scale grassland restoration on privately owned Piedmont landscapes include small parcel size (working with multiple landowners), lack of appreciation for the aesthetics of early succession habitats, and development of the rural landscape.
||The University of Kentucky Department of Forestry, Lexington, Kentucky
||T. G. Barnes