Kamama East Expansion
Acres: 93 Project Value: $214,528
Providing an important buffer for a remarkable Ohio prairie
Doubling the size of Kamama Prairie. Expanding Kamama Prairie is the single most important conservation practice that we can do to protect and stabilize the critical core of its biodiversity. Kamama Prairie is the second oldest preserve in the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System. It protects a rare plant community often referred to as an “alkaline short-grass prairie.” Alkaline short-grass prairies are distinctly different from the tall-grass prairies remnants found in west-central and northern Ohio. Tall-grass prairies in Ohio share the same assemblage of plants in common with the tall-grass prairies of Indiana and Illinois. The deep, rich soils of tall-grass prairies were heavily sought for farmland, with the result that the plant community is extremely rare throughout its original range, including Ohio.
Alkaline short-grass prairies exist only in old, deeply weathered soils over limestone/dolomite bedrock that lies close to the surface. Unlike the grass-dominated tall-grass prairie, the short-grass prairie is dominated by wildflowers
(forbes). Soils are dependably thin, low in nutrients and low on water retention. So poor are these soils that trees struggle to survive, which is the primary reason the alkaline short-grass prairie of the East survives at all. In the age old dance between forests and prairies, here in the East, current weather patterns favor trees. Without human intervention to stop forest encroachment (such as with fire and/or mowing), the incredibly rich and rare ecosystem known as the Eastern alkaline short-grass prairie will continue to diminish and in many cases, disappear, unless assisted by conservation practices or weather patterns change. More Information.
Providing a Forested Buffer. Kamama exists as a precariously small preserve. The sale of the 93-acre tract of forest to the east of Kamama provides a rare opportunity to provide for a natural forested buffer around the prairie epicenter. This forested tract, known as Kamama East, is worthy of natural area protection in its own right. It has not been logged for roughly 30 years and is remarkably free of invasive plants, other than along the riparian zone. Invasive plants exist in small enough numbers to be effectively treated and maintained. The expansion property shelters a healthy, intact oak-hickory forest growing on thin dolomite soils with a marked prairie influence in the forest understory. Scattered throughout the woodlands are cedar glades and prairie openings. Kamama East is partially funded with awarded Clean Ohio grant monies.
Kamama Prairie has 55% of the 135 butterfly species recorded in Ohio, and an immense diversity of moths. Photo by John Howard.