Woodland Ecosystem of the Loess Hills
Woodlands are one of three
distinct found in the Loess Hills of Iowa. Trees and woodland
areas in Iowas original landscape were limited to places where
fires were unlikely to occur and had plenty of water. Most forests
in the Loess Hills are recent arrivals. While an occasional bur oak
tree would established in the middle of a prairie area, dense forests
were fairly rare and found mainly in the deep ravines between hills.
These forests provide habitat for a variety of other animals and plants,
increasing the biodiversity of the hills as a whole. Humans settlement
increased the amount of forest cover through planting trees and suppressing
Within the Loess Hills working landscape, woodlands serve several
act as tourist destinations and educational areas.
provide habitat for plants and animals, increasing the biodiversity
of the area.
provide natural resources for people.
Some farmers allow their
cattle to graze in forested areas, which destroys the undergrowth
and ground cover habitat. Lumber is sometimes harvested without
regard to healthy habitat management. And the woodlands can be a
threat when they are allowed to increase. Forests can take over
prairies, displacing plants and animals and their habitat.