2019 Mentors and Projects
Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany

12

J. Leighton Reid

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J. Leighton Reid

Assistant Scientist
Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development

Long-term effects of temperate woodland restoration on understory plant communities. Reid is an assistant scientist in MBG’s Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development specializing in restoration ecology, with particular interests in ecological ecosystem restoration, plant conservation and sustainability. Temperate woodlands are among the world’s most threatened biomes. These widespread, disturbance-maintained ecosystems are at risk almost everywhere they occur from interrelated threats including afforestation, agricultural conversion, CO2 enrichment, defaunation, fire suppression, invasive species, and human neglect. In the midwestern USA, land managers are attempting to restore temperate woodlands through prescribed burning, overstory tree thinning, and seeding of native plant species. Understanding the long-term effects of these practices on understory plant communities is important for designing effective restoration strategies. In this project, we will ask: How do woodland plant communities change over time during ecological restoration? We will attempt to answer this question in a set of restored woodlands at Shaw Nature Reserve (Gray Summit, MO). To do so, we will sample vegetation in woodlands that have been undergoing ecological restoration for ~2-30 years. We will use multivariate statistical analysis to evaluate how plant communities differ in management units that have been under restoration for different amounts of time. The student researcher will learn to identify >100 regional plant species, gain experience in vegetation monitoring protocols, and learn to conduct multivariate statistical analyses.

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