Woodlands of Iowa 
Reflective Images ... Fine Art Nature Photography/GDT

Gary D.Tonhouse 1997-200

What is a savanna? A commonly accepted definition of savanna is a natural community with an open tree layer of less than 80% coverage and a continuous ground layer dominated by grasses and sedges.

What rare community is on a Nature Conservancy Preserve in Muscatine County? County? County? Swamp White Oak Savanna + Woodland.

What are some of the types of trees found in Iowa’s woodlands? White oak, red oak, black walnut, cottonwood, shagbark hickory, ironwood, silver maple, white pine, red cedar.

What percentage of Iowa’s acres are woodland? Only about 5% of Iowa’s 35.8 million acres remains woodland. Every county in the state has some woodland, but the amount varies considerably from county to county, with some having less than 1% woodland.

How much of Iowa was woodland at the time of settlement? At the time of settlement approximately 19% of Iowa was woodland.

What are some woodland wildflowers? Bloodroot, Dutchman’s breeches, Virginia waterleaf, Columbine.

What is a result of the reduction of Iowa’s woodlands? A decline in biodiversity, productivity, and stability of the natural communities. A growing number of woodland dwelling bird species are encountered less frequently due to the loss of habitat.

What are some of the species of birds found in Iowa’s woodlands? Red-tailed hawk, wild turkey, great horned owl, barred owl, blue jay, northern oriole, ruby-throated hummingbird, black capped chickadee, as well as several species of woodpeckers, wrens, kinglets, and warblers.

What are some of the species of birds that are most affected by the decrease in habitat? Ovenbird, red-shouldered hawk, broadwinged hawk, long-eared hawk, Bell’s vireo, sharp-shinned hawk, long-eared owl, winter wren, black and white warbler, and worm eating warbler.

What are some of the mammals found in Iowa’s woodlands? White-footed mouse, deer mouse, short-tailed shrew, least shrew, gray squirrel, fox squirrel, red squirrel, southern flying squirrel, ermine, opossum, least weasel, eastern chipmunk, eastern cottontail, red bat, raccoon, woodchuck, gray fox, and white tailed deer.

What are some of the most threatened species due to hunting and habitat destruction? Indiana bat, evening bat, red-backed vole, woodland vole, porcupine, gray wolf, black bear, wolverine, and lynx.

What are the benefits of woodland restoration? Benefits include protection and improvement of environmental quality, wildlife habitat, agricultural diversification, preservation of genetic resource, provision of natural areas for research, education, and aesthetic values.

How long of a process is woodland restoration? Woodland restoration may take up to 40-100 years depending on the type of vegetation present.

Some woodlands owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy are:  
A) Berry Woods in Warren County.  (B) Retz Memorial Forest in Clayton County.



Iowa Association of Naturalists. 1993. "Iowa Wetlands."

Iowa Association of Naturalists. 1993. "Iowa Woodlands."

Thompson, Janette R. 1992. Prairies, Forests, and Wetlands. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.

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