A Paleoecological Test of the Fire Hypotheses in Serpentine Vegetation
Mark Nejako, Towson University; Dr. William Hilgartner, Friends School of Baltimore & Johns Hopkins University
Historical documents suggest that fire has been a key factor in shaping and maintaining the serpentine grassland community at Soldiers Delight over many centuries. However, there is no charcoal or paleoecological data to substantiate the importance of fire. We propose that sediment cores be extracted from selected sites within Soldiers Delight for analysis of charcoal, pollen, and seeds. Charcoal provides a record of fire frequency, pollen a record of regional vegetation, and seeds a record of local vegetation. Without the paleoecological data, the issue of prescribed burning as a management tool in the maintenance of serpentine vegetation remains uncertain.