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friends of the state botanical garden of georgia

climate challenge: less water, worse droughts

grant award: $70,718; Year awarded: 2018

Climate change research predicts that upland hardwood forests in the southeastern U.S. will face increased temperatures, prolonged droughts, and intensified storms in
the next 50 years. Due to these impacts, forested areas are expected to transition to treeless or near-treeless habitats such as prairies and savannas. These landscapes are
especially vulnerable to invasion by exotic species, while native propagules will be limited due to fragmentation caused by disturbances. This project aims to convert a 10-acre power line right-of-way (ROW) to a species-rich prairie, using historical knowledge of vegetation that previously existed in the Piedmont landscape as a demonstration model for more transitional adaptation work in these spaces
across the country. Since ROWs inherently transect multiple, varying landscapes, they are ideal for species propagation. This project will serve as a model of one climate adaptation response to deforestation, with the potential for larger-scale impacts since there are an estimated 4,000 acres of utility ROWs on state-owned
conservation land.