ï~~2011 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST 41 ANNOTATED CHECKLIST OF THE FLORA OF THE KALAMAZOO NATURE CENTER WITH NATURAL COMMUNITY DESCRIPTIONS Tyler Bassett 2436 Woodward Avenue Current Address: Kalamazoo, MI 49004 Kellogg Biological Station keepitsimple7 @yahoo.com Michigan State University 3700 E. Gull Lake Dr. Hickory Corners, MI 49060 ABSTRACT The need to manage several hundred acres of contiguous upland and wetland habitats requires a comprehensive understanding of individual natural features found in those habitats and their relationships across the landscape. Although the 1,200-acre (500-hectare) Kalamazoo Nature Center (KNC), in Kalamazoo County, MI has a rich history of avian research, a systematic inventory of all the natural features on the property has never been conducted. This paper describes the results of a comprehensive floristic inventory conducted during 2003-2004 within the context of a broader biological inventory. The checklist includes 702 vascular plant species and varieties and subspecies in 114 families, including 153 species and infra-specific taxa newly documented at KNC, five statelisted species, and three Kalamazoo County records. Natural communities were delineated and are described in detail and analyzed with the Floristic Quality Assessment. KNC supports six natural communities, including 459 acres (186 hectares) of mesic southern forest, 124 acres (50 hectares) of southern floodplain forest along the Kalamazoo River, and several high-quality southern wet meadows. Opportunities and challenges for managing the biodiversity supported at KNC are discussed, such as invasive species and the impacts of human activities on the natural landscape. The results of the inventory are actively used to guide the management of natural communities at KNC. KEYWORDS: Kalamazoo Nature Center, beech-maple forest, landscape context, natural lands management INTRODUCTION The Kalamazoo Nature Center (KNC) occupies approximately 1,200 acres (500 hectares) in an area historically dominated by beech-maple forest (Hodler et al. 1981, Comer et al. 1995). It is located in sections 21, 22, 27, 28 and 34 of Cooper Township (T1S R11W) in Kalamazoo County (42.370N 85.580W). KNC was established in 1960 as an outdoor environmental education center and is known for its avian research (e.g., Brewer et al. 1991). Most other animal groups as well as the vegetation of the property have been surveyed at various intensities since that time. A systematic inventory of all natural features on the property, however, has never been done. This paper presents the results of a comprehensive floristic inventory of KNC that occurred as part of a broader biological inventory. The results are presented within the context of managing the land for all biota and interesting landscape features. A two-year biological inventory was initiated in April 2003. Vascular plants,
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