Dynamics of species composition and importance from 1965-1998 in Baber Woods Nature Preserve, Edgar County, Illinois: Evidence of the effects of fire suppression
Presently Acer saccharum (sugar maple) dominates the overstory of Baber Woods Nature Preserve with an importance value (IV) of 75.4 (possible 200), more than half the total density (148.4 of 289.4 stems/ha), and numerous individuals in the smaller diameter classes. Second is Quercus alba (white oak) with an IV of 45.9, one-third of the basal area (9.28 of 26.95 m /ha), which dominates the larger diameter classes, and averages 56.9 cm dbh. Total IV for all oaks combined was 64, and 30 for all hickories combined. Since Baber Woods was first surveyed in 1965, sugar maple has continued to increase in importance, with a corresponding decrease in the importance of oaks and hickories. Data suggest that this woodlot was an open white oak savanna in presettlement time. Fire suppression has resulted in canopy closure and an increase in shade-tolerant, fire-sensitive mesic species like sugar maple. 2
McClain, William E., Vernon L. LaGesse, and John E. Ebinger. "Dynamics of species composition and importance from 1965–1998 in Baber Woods Nature Preserve, Edgar County, Illinois: evidence of the effects of fire suppression." Castanea 71, no. 4 (2006): 312-320.