Ecological Assessment 2009

In 2009, Native Connections performed an ecological assessment of Asylum Lake Preserve. The goal of the study was not to duplicate past efforts but to build on prior work and provide a cohesive vision for the management of the Preserve's natural features.

The study was divided into three focal areas: 1) a qualitative assessment of the natural features in the terrestrial habitats at the Preserve, including the compilation of historical records, 2) the establishment of long term vegetation monitoring plots and transects and initial data collection, and 3) a GIS-based assessment of invasive plant species at the Preserve.

The qualitative assessment focused on vascular plants and birds, as they are easily censused and meaningful indicators of habitat quality. A total of 455 plant species were documented. More than 70% are native species, and 119 are newly reported at the Preserve. The dominant tree species in the forest is wild black cherry, though white and black oak are prominent in the canopy, and red oak and pignut hickory are also common. Collectively, the invasive shrubs glossy and common buckthorn and bush honeysuckle dominate 60% of the forest understory, resulting in low understory diversity. Between the years of 1976 and 2009, 117 bird species were recorded at Asylum Lake Preserve. The study done in 2009 observed two previously undocumented species, the Henslow's Sparrow and Pine Warbler.

Overall, the natural features of Asylum Lake Preserve are highly degraded through many years of human occupation and the effects of urbanization. Small pockets of valuable habitat persist, and with proper restoration practices, the ecological health of Asylum Lake Preserve can be improved.


Common Invasive Vegetation at Asylum Lake

bush honeysuckle

glossy buckthorn

garlic mustard


An Ecological Assessment of the Asylum Lake Preserve:

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Executive Summary

Table of Contents


Materials and Methods




Literature Cited


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