The Effects of Herbivory, Competition, and Fire on Bluegrass Savanna-Woodland Hardwoods of Central Kentucky

Central Kentucky was rapidly settled and divided up among landowners by 1800, a process that led to the extinction of the bison, elk, wolf, black bear and mountain lion in this area, and to the gradual extinction of its savanna-woodland landscape. Consequently, little knowledge about this ecologically distinctive area exists. In 2006 the Bluegrass area was listed as a globally endangered cultural landscape. Our research led by UK biology doctoral student Jim Shaffer (w/ Dr. Scott Gleeson) focuses on many of the distinctive, poorly studied Bluegrass hardwood tree species (e.g. Kentucky coffee tree), particularly, how herbivory, competition, and fire can affect seedling growth that ultimately determines the structure and species composition of the savanna-woodland.

John J. Cox, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Wildlife and Conservation Biology
(859) 257-9507 | jjcox@uky.edu | 102 T.P. Cooper Building