Oak savanna and oak woodland habitats have experienced drastic declines regionally, both in terms of total area occupied and the ecological quality of remaining sites. Invasive species and fire suppression are two primary contributing factors leading to this decline. Removal of non-oak species is one important step to restoring these globally rare natural communities. Competition from encroaching trees and brush contribute to declining oak tree health and heavy shade make it nearly impossible for oaks to recruit a new generation of young trees. With nearby trees removed and sunlight enhanced, oak trees stand of chance of resuming their important role as the backbone of these habitats in the region.
Scheidegger Forest is managed as a demonstration site for sustainable forestry practices with objectives that include renewable timber production, invasive species management, wildlife management, and providing recreational opportunities. Vegetation management is guided by a DNR Forest Stewardship Management Plan. A previous timber harvest was conducted to improve forest health and generated wood for the construction of the shelter, kiosk, and bathroom on site. An upcoming timber harvest will promote a healthy oak woodland and generate revenue for natural areas restoration and management.
Darren Marsh, Park Director
Dane County Parks Division
5201 Fen Oak Drive
Madison, WI 53718