Natural resource management must include activities relating to the entire biota (all plants and animals living in an area) to be effective. The biota within the nearly 2,000 acre Arboretum is vast and consists of:
- Row and hay crop agriculture
- Woodlands in various stages of succession (seedlings to mature timber)
- Riparian areas
- Grassland habitats
Natural Resource Management Activities
Agricultural land at The Arboretum is managed through contracts written to ensure the integrity of the soil resource is not compromised in any way. All farmers manage soil nutrients according to The Ohio State University specifications and manage runoff following Natural Resource Conservation Service guidelines.
Arboretum staff works closely with Ohio Division of Forestry staff and Certified Consulting Foresters to ensure that woodland resources are managed as a sustaining renewable resource. Reforestation continues to be a priority with an emphasis on areas susceptible to erosion. Once a new planting is established, proper management practices are followed to ensure a quality stand of timber will be available for future harvest.
Riparian areas (habitats along streams, creeks and rivers) at The Arboretum are managed to ensure the integrity of plant and animal diversity while protecting this habitat, critical to high quality flowing bodies of water.
Wetland management is important to protect the diversity of valuable natural resource components at The Arboretum such as soils, water, plants, and wildlife. Wetlands help prevent downstream flooding by storing runoff water during rain events. Wetlands provide needed habitat for wildlife, offer an opportunity for unique aquatic plant collections and provide visitors fantastic viewing experiences and incredible educational opportunities.
Grassland management includes several different facets at The Dawes Arboretum with the most recognized being nearly 100 acres of native grasses and forbs. The vast area is managed as a wildlife habitat and for wildlife observation, seed collection and as a wetland and riparian buffer. Other grassland management practices include:
- High protein grass hay crops that help slow precipitation runoff while building soil fertility and organic matter.
- Annual grass mowing instead of the traditional weekly schedule to add uniqueness to the area; provide a nesting habitat for birds; and save on fuel, water and maintenance costs.