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Oak Ecosystems Focus Area
Oak Ecosystems Focus Area

Photo: The Morton Arboretum

Oak trees are considered keystone species in the Chicago Wilderness Region, underpinning the biological diversity of some of our most crucial ecosystems. Chicago Wilderness is leading a coordinated recovery effort to preserve, restore, and expand oak ecosystems across the region.

Progress thus far

  • completed the regional oak ecosystem recovery plan (pdf)
  • engaged new partners in Indiana and Wisconsin
  • compiled foundational data sets to implement remnant oak mapping for Southeast Wisconsin, Northwest Indiana, and Southwest Michigan

2020 Goals

  • spatially-based regional framework
  • health status & trends understood
  • tracking: maintain, restore, reforest
  • research underway-critical questions
  • measurable progress initiated in priority opportunity areas
  • relevant outreach tools in place

Metrics (Examples)

  • # of trees planted, acres burned, invasives removed
  • oak recruitment
  • basal area
  • age, class distribution


visit our working group: