North American Prairie Conference


Date of this Version



Published in Dave Egan & John A. Harrington, editors, Proceedings of the 19th North American Prairie Conference: The Conservation Legacy Lives On..., University of Wisconsin-Madison, August 8-12, 2004 (Proceedings of the North American Prairie Conference, 19), Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004.


The habitat consideted in this study is a 19.8-acre (8.0-hectare) prairie relict, which is part of the 296-acre (120-hectare) park (Jennings Environmental Education Center), and it is located in northwest Pennsylvania (Butler County). This prairie remnant is one of the easternmost existing relicts of the once widespread post-glacial prairies. The focus of this paper is to present an overview of the natural history of the Jennings Prairie with emphasis on preservation practices that have occurred since its discovery, in 1905, and management approaches aimed at the conservation of this habitat. The maintenance of its 225 native plant species requires human intervention in order to avoid its succession into a forest ecosystem, which is typical for this bioregion. Pedologic data are presented briefly as a frame; work used to justify decision-making in common land management practices. The conservation of the Jennings Prairie (the only one remaining of a few prairies dislocated through the landscape of western Pennsylvania) remains a unique habitat unit to demonstrate ecosystem diversity in the region.