Leaflets summarize key findings at the Arboretum, or related to its mission, for an audience beyond ecological researchers. Leaflets are written or edited by Dr. Joy Zedler and provide simplified descriptions of ecological research and land care issues, with color illustrations. They are listed in reverse chronological order, with a link to download the Leaflet as a PDF.


Zedler, J.B. 2016. Innovations in Adaptive Management and Restoration
Adaptive management and restoration (AM and AR) foster learning while testing and implementing ways to conserve and restore the land. Leaflet 40 looks at several examples of recent innovations that are relevant to the Arboretum. (Leaflet 40)

Zedler, J.B., et al. 2015. Coastal Marsh Restoration Challenges: An Inter-Continental Comparison
Few Wisconsinites know about our estuary on Lake Superior—how does it differ from estuaries adjacent to oceans in warmer climates? This leaflet aims to show how chemical gradients (particularly salts) determine the overall condition of estuaries. By comparing four estuaries on three continents, we show that salinity causes major changes in wetland vegetation, and that restoration is challenged by shifts in salt concentration, either too high or too low. (Leaflet 39)

Zedler, J.B., 2015. Mesocosms: An Idea that Became a Reality and Then a Necessity
An abandoned pine nursery became a mesocosm facility in 1998 and since provided continuous support of research and education. Read about the many experiments, publications, degrees, and careers that trace back to the Arboretum Mesocosm Facility. (Leaflet 38)

Zedler, J.B. 2015. Early Restoration Ecologists Did Not Insist on Exact Replicas
Restoration began at the Arboretum where reviewing its origins should settle arguments about the term “restoration.”  (Leaflet 37)

Zedler, J.B. 2014. A Wetland Ethic?
Wetlands are important and valuable, yet vulnerable to many environmental impacts. Protection of their biodiversity and ecosystem services would benefit from adoption and evolution of a wetland ethic. (Leaflet 36)

Zedler, J.B. 2014. What Do Frogs Do All Day?
An amphibian expert, Dr. Tracy Rittenhouse, wondered how many ways frogs contribute to ecosystem services. When Hocking and Babbitt (2014) published the answer, she forwarded their paper. This leaflet summarizes what frogs (and their near relatives) do all day. (Leaflet 35)

Zedler, J.B. 2014. Arboretum Wetlands: Hidden Value in Plain Sight
Relative to uplands, the Arboretum has a high proportion of wetland area, now worth more than ever, according to updated estimates just published by the renowned ecological economist Robert Costanza. Leaflet 34 describes the Arboretum’s diverse types of wetlands, their diverse ecosystem services, and where you can see them. (Leaflet 34)

Zedler, J.B., editor. 2014. Adaptive Restoration of a Former Wet Meadow
Restoration of the 12-acre Teal Pond Wetland (just east of Curtis Prairie). An adaptive restoration approach helps us “learn while restoring” sedge meadow and other native vegetation. What should be the target? Which trees should be left in place? How should we achieve a native understory that is both diverse and invasion-resistant? How should invasive plants be managed? (Leaflet 33)

Zedler, P.H. 2014. Restoring the Psychozoic Era, Replacing the Anthropocene
Have humans so modified the earth that we are living in a new era, and if so, what should we call it? Recent writers suggest the “Anthropocene,” but over a century ago, Wisconsin geologist T.C. Chamberlain wrote that humans had created a new geological era, the “Psychozoic.” (Leaflet 32)

Rojas-Viada, I. and J.B. Zedler. 2014. Arboretum Research Helps Resolve the “Invasive Species Debate”
Isabel Rojas reviewed debates about whether invasive species do or don’t affect resident species diversity. In her study of reed canary grass (RCG) in Arboretum and other local wetlands, Rojas found that RCG reduced diversity by half where it invaded sedge meadows—a pattern for entire study sites as well as for the four plot sizes she compared. (Leaflet 31)

Zedler, J.B., et al. 2013. How Visiting the Arboretum Can Help Resolve Ecological Debates
The Arboretum serves an important role in the resolution of arguments. Vegetation patterns in Curtis Prairie and other habitats and our many efforts to conserve diversity show that Nature can support multiple viewpoints and clearer definitions of terms can aid communication. (Leaflet 30)

Larkin, Daniel, and J.B. Zedler. 2013. Coon Valley and Tijuana Estuary: Lessons for Restoration
Aldo Leopold and colleagues showed great insight in taking a watershed approach to restore Coon Valley, Wisconsin, in 1933. Much later efforts in a southern California coastal wetland faced similar issues. In both, Coon Valley and Tijuana Estuary, good conservation has been based on good basic science. (Leaflet 29)

Zedler, J.B. 2013. How Ponded Cattail Marshes Can Export Phosphorus: A Conceptual Model
This addendum to Leaflet #27 illustrates how ponding and cattails can interact to reduce the wetland service of phosphorus removal. Recent research and information already in the literature support this conceptual model. (Leaflet 28)

Zedler, J.B. 2013. How Ponded Runoff and Invasive Cattails Reduced Wetland Ecosystem Services in Three Experimental Wetlands
An interdisciplinary team of six researchers assessed six ecosystem services in three experimental wetlands. Their findings greatly advance understanding of the effects of water levels and invasive cattails on plant productivity, diversity support, water quality improvement, soil stabilization, flow attenuation, and stormwater retention. (Leaflet 27)

Zedler, J.B., et al. 2012. How Can Neighbors Help Sustain Native Plants in Curtis Prairie?
With funding from the Morgridge Center For Public Service Service Learning Program, volunteers sampled stormwater flowing through Curtis Prairie and suggested how upstream neighbors could release cleaner water that would help sustain native plants in Curtis Prairie. (Leaflet 26)

Zedler, J.B. 2012. Eco-Cultural Restoration at Ho-Nee-Um Pond
Eight ecosystems are readily accessible in the area surrounding Ho-Nee-Um Pond. These are: coldwater springs, fen, groundwater seepages, cottonwood bottomland, oak savanna, woodland, and an excavated pond and shoreline. The two springs that flow year-roundwhile another twenty-two have dried up. Steps away from a busy street, visitors can see where groundwater becomes surface water. (Leaflet 25)

Zedler, J.B. 2012. A Self-Guided Walk through Curtis Prairie
Rainfall and melting snow used to infiltrate into the ground before reaching the Arboretum. Today, urban “hardscapes” discharge excess water and nutrients into Curtis Prairie. Curtis Prairie’s wetland soil and vegetation remove contaminants, protecting Lake Wingra. Please use this self-guided tour that includes Curtis Prairie Wetland. Go with the flow! (Leaflet 24)

Zedler, J.B., et al. 2011. Unintended Negative Impacts of Construction Projects in the Arboretum
Construction projects are often necessary to fix problems that result from the Arboretum’s low-lying position in an urban landscape. But in the process of fixing problems, construction activities often cause unintended negative impacts. (Leaflet 23)

Zedler, J.B. 2010. Tussock Sedge – A Restoration Superplant?
Arboretum research suggests that tussock sedge (Carex stricta) performs many ecological functions very well. Once widespread, this plant is easy to grow and transplant, spreads rapidly, supports other species, tolerates nutrient-rich soil, and stores carbon. It’s a “superplant.” (Leaflet 22Leaflet 22 References)

Zedler, J.B. 2010. Restoration Targets Are Changing
This comparison of early ideas, current activities, and future targets was Joy Zedler’s plenary talk at the Midwest–Great Lakes Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration, held at the Arboretum on April 9, 2010. (Leaflet 21Leaflet 21 References)

Zedler, J.B. 2010. Manitou Stream: How Best to Manage “Urban Stream Syndrome”
Dr. Emily Bernhardt (Duke University) spoke on stream restoration at UW–Madison in 2010 and advised how best to manage urban runoff. This leaflet fulfilled obligations for her funded visit. (Leaflet 20)

Zedler, P. and J.B. Zedler. 2009. Arboretum 75th-Anniversary Seminar
In celebration of the Arboretum’s 75th anniversary, guest speakers shared their thoughts about the future of Restoration Ecology (the next 75 years) in a graduate seminar class. (Leaflet 19)

Wegener, M. and J.B. Zedler. 2009. Taking Stock
The Arboretum’s “natural capital” includes a 1,200-acre reserve in Madison that was set aside for ecosystem restoration, research, and teaching, plus 11 outlying properties that serve as reference sites for restoration.  Maps and aerial photos illustrates the core Madison property and challenges the Arboretum faces in its urban setting. (Leaflet 18)

Carpenter, Q. and J.B. Zedler. 2008. Demystifying Fens
In Wisconsin, fens are revered for being small but diverse in plant species. Separating fens from sedge meadows and wet prairies can be tricky, so local expert, Dr. Quentin Carpenter, helps demystify this important type of  wetland ecosystem. (Leaflet 17)

Zedler, J.B., editor. Curtis Praire: 75-year-Old Restoration Research Site
This site is often revered for being restored nearly 75 years ago. It also has a long history of adaptive restoration—testing restoration approaches in field experiments using results to improve restoration. (Leaflet 16)

Zedler, J.B., editor. The Amazing Diversity of Root Forms Among Native Wetland Plants
An ambitious experiment compared the root and shoot growth of 40 native wetland plants (see photo gallery). Where topsoil was added, most species produced more shoot biomass and less root biomass. Thus, topsoil should not be added to stormwater swales where flowing water would erode top-heavy plants. (Leaflet 15)

Jelinski, Nic and N. Anderson. 2007. Diversity and Productivity of Faville Prairie
Data from a diverse prairie remnant contradict theory that species-rich vegetation is more productive than that of less-diverse plant communities. Aboveground productivity in the monotypic reed canary grass was about twice that of the native wet prairie. (Leaflet 14)

Zedler J.B. 2007. Climate Change and Arboretum Wetlands
While no one knows how climate change will affect Curtis Prairie, insights can be gained by documenting the phenology (timing of events) of key species. Legner and Kolberg quantified the growing and flowering seasons of two native species and the invasive reed canary grass. The latter appears to have a clear advantage that could translate to even greater dominance with climate change. (Leaflet 13)

Zedler, J.B. and D. Liebl. 2006. Turning Stormwater Facilities into Amenities for Learning
(Leaflet 12)

Zedler, J.B. and S.J. Hall. 2006. The March of Cattails Across Gardner Marsh
Invasive cattails expanded about 80 cm per year near the Gardner Marsh boardwalk, based on historical air photos conducted by Frank Scarpace’s students. (Leaflet 11)

Zedler J.B. 2006. Why Are Wetlands so Valuable?
May is wetlands month, a suitable time to explore their high value to humans. Costanza et al. (1997) quantified (in dollars) the annual renewable ecosystem services attributable to wetlands. (Leaflet 10)

Hall, S., Peach M. and J.B. Zedler. 2006. Creating Heterogeneous Topography to Restore Sedge Meadow Diversity
Nature is heterogeneous, but many restoration sites are graded smooth. We built small mounds and seeded native species to both mounded and flat plots. As hypothesized, mounded plots supported more species. (Leaflet 9)

Herr-Turoff, A. and J.B. Zedler. 2006. Does Invasive Reed Canary Grass Retain More Nitrogen than Wet Prairie Vegetation?
Reed canary grass outgrows most native plants, but Herr-Turoff found no evidence that it removes more nitrogen than native wet prairie vegetation (in mesocosms). (Leaflet 8)

Zedler, J.B. 2006. How Hydrologic Manipulations Can Accelerate Cattail Invasions Via “Internal Eutrophication”
Simply prolonging the period of standing water (as behind dams) stimulates enough release of phosphorus by soil to accelerate cattail invasions. This process is called “internal eutrophication.” (Leaflet 7)

Zedler, J.B. Opportunities for Sedge Meadow Restoration at Gardener Marsh. 2005
Adaptive Restoration (Botany 670) students provide ideas for restoring Gardener Marsh’s sedge meadows adaptively. (Leaflet 6)

Zedler, J.B. Kercher, S.K. and A. Herr-Turoff. What Accelerates Reed Canary Grass Invasions? 2005
Results from a two-year experiment, with 27 treatments, showed that reed canary grass rapidly outgrows diverse wet prairie, with strong interactions between flooding and nutrient loading. (Leaflet 5)

Zedler, J. B. Adaptive Restoration. 2005
This is “learning while restoring,” wherein restoration is undertaken as experiments, with each phase learning from earlier experiments to use the most effective approach, while addressing new hypotheses. (Leaflet 4)

Zedler, J.B. and C. Frieswyk. 2005. Characterizing Dominance: Which Species are Dominant and How Do They Dominate?
We quantify what “dominance” means for wetland plant species. A new “species dominance index” uses mean cover as well as suppression of other species. (Leaflet 3)

Zedler, J.B. and M. Peach. 2005. Increasing Wetland Diversity: How One Plant Creates Habitat for Others
Tussock meadows foster plant diversity in multiple ways, according to a study of three wetland sites in southern Wisconsin. (Leaflet 2)

Zedler, J.B. and J. Wilcox. 2005. Interconnected Restoration Challenges: Controlling Invasives and Reestablishing Natives
Reed canary grass was difficult to control in Lower Greene Prairie and native seed mixes produced varied outcomes. (Leaflet 1)