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Oklahoma Biodiversity Plan

Table of Contents

Ecoregions of Oklahoma

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Preface.................................................................................. viii

Acknowledgments................................................................... ix

Executive Summary................................................................. xi

Biodiversity Council............................................................... xiii

Biodiversity Task Force........................................................... xv

            Biology Committee.......................................................... xv

            Conservation and Recreation Committee......................... xv

            Education Committee...................................................... xv

            Forestry and Agriculture Committee.............................. xvi

            Land Resources Committee........................................... xvi

            Minerals Committee...................................................... xvi

            Water Resources Committee........................................ xvii


Part I: Understanding Oklahoma’s Biodiversity.......................... 1

            Chapter 1: What is Biodiversity? ..................................... 3

                        Genetic Diversity.................................................. 5

                        Species Diversity.................................................. 5

                        Community Diversity............................................ 6

                        Unique Elements.................................................. 8

                        Summary............................................................. 8


            Chapter 2: Why is Biodiversity Important? ..................... 9

                        Values Independent of Economics........................ 9

                                    Stewardship............................................. 9

                                Natural Heritage..........................................10

                        Values of Community Processes  ....................... 11

                                    Water and Soil Conservation................... 11

                                    Waste Disposal....................................... 11

                                    Community Stability............................... 11

                                    Recreation.............................................. 12

                                    Education............................................... 12

                                    Indicators of Environmental Health......... 13

                        Economic Values................................................. 13

                                    Ecotourism.............................................. 13

                                    Locally Consumed Products..................... 13

                                    Commercial Products............................... 14

                                    Medical Values......................................... 14

                                    Agriculture............................................... 15

                                    Biological Controls................................... 15

                                    Use of Native Plants.................................. 15

                                    Avoid Endangering Species....................... 16

                        Future Value......................................................... 16


            Chapter 3: Oklahoma’s Biodiversity ................................ 17

                        Community Diversity............................................. 17

                                    South Central Plains................................... 17

                                    Ouachita Mountains................................... 21

                                    Arkansas Valley.......................................... 22

                                    Ozark Highlands......................................... 23

                                    Central Irregular Plains................................ 24

                                    Central Oklahoma/Texas Plains................... 25

                                    Flint Hills..................................................... 27

                                    Central Great Plains..................................... 28

                                    Southwestern Tablelands............................. 31

                                    Western High Plains..................................... 32

                                    Black Mesa................................................... 33

                                    Big Rivers..................................................... 34

                        Species Diversity...................................................... 35

                                    Animals........................................................ 35

                                    Fungi............................................................ 40

                                    Plants........................................................... 41

                        Genetic Diversity...................................................... 42

                        Summary.................................................................. 42


            Chapter 4: Factors Influencing Oklahoma’s Biodiversity..... 45

                        Physical Factors.........................................................45

                                Geographic Location..........................................45

                                Landscape Diversity...........................................45

                                Climate............................................................. 46

                        Ecological Processes that Maintain Biodiversity.......... 46

                                Dispersal........................................................... 46

                                Isolation.............................................................47

                                Local Adaptation.................................................47

                                Speciation...........................................................48

                                Natural Disturbance and Succession....................48

                                Community or Species Restoration..................... 49

                        Ecological Processes that Decrease Biodiversity.......... 49

                                Habitat Fragmentation.........................................50

                                Disruption of Natural Processes...........................51

                                Reduction in Population Size................................52

                                Hybridization.......................................................53

                                Species Eliminations............................................ 53

                                Species Introductions...........................................54

                        Myths or Misunderstanding......................................... 55

                        Rising Demands on Resources..................................... 55

                        Summary..................................................................... 56


Part II: Recommendations for Conserving Biodiversity...................... 57

Chapter 5: Biological Recommendations to Conserve Oklahoma’s Biodiversity........ 59

                        Societal or Economic Level............................................ 59

                            Clean Air, Water and Soil Practices............................ 59

                            Environmental Education.......................................... 60

                            Local Government Conservation Efforts......................61

                            State and Federal Conservation Programs.................. 62

                            Conservation on Private Land......................................62

                        Sensitive Natural Areas................................................... 64

                        Public Lands................................................................... 65

                        Biological Information Needs.......................................... 66

                            Assembling Existing Knowledge..................................66

                            Identifying Knowledge Gaps....................................... 67

                        Scientific Oversight........................................................ 67


            Chapter 6:  Conservation and Recreation Activities Can Enhance Biodiversity Conservation...69

                        Ways Conservation and Recreation Groups Benefit Biodiversity Conservation............70

                            Protection of Natural Areas........................................  70

                            Management and Stewardship Activities..................... 70

                            Research.................................................................... 71

                            Education................................................................... 72

                            Political Action........................................................... 72

                            Individual Actions.......................................................72

                        Ways to Improve Biodiversity Conservation.................... 72

                             Regional Coordination.............................................. 72

                             Funding.....................................................................73

                                 Inventory and Monitoring.......................................73

                            Management...............................................................73

                            Incorporate Biodiversity Conservation with Recreational Activities......74

                            Education....................................................................74

                            Change in Public Perception........................................75

                        Outreach........................................................................ 77

                        Summary........................................................................ 78


            Chapter 7:  Forestry and Agricultural Management Can Enhance Biodiversity.......79

                        Practices that Benefit Biodiversity................................... 81

                            Land-Management Practices........................................81

                            Government Services...................................................83

                             Education...................................................................84

                        Ways to Improve Biodiversity in Forestry and Agriculture....85

                            Waste Disposal........................................................... 85

                            Exotic Species and Pest Control...................................85

                             Alternative Crop Markets........................................... 86

                            Conservation Practices............................................... 87

                        Policy Changes Needed to Encourage Biodiversity Management......89

                        Miscellaneous................................................................. 90

                        Outreach........................................................................ 90


            Chapter 8: Heavily Used Areas Can Contribute to Biodiversity...93

                        Ways Heavily Used Areas Can Contribute to Biodiversity...94

                            Planning......................................................................94

                            Education or Recreation...............................................94

                             Management Practices................................................95

                        Ways Heavily Used Areas Can Enhance Biodiversity...........95

                            Landscaping for Biodiversity........................................95

                            Reduce Mowing............................................................98

                            Minimize Chemical Usage............................................99

                                Parks: More Than Swing sets and Ball fields.............99

                            Habitat Banking...........................................................100

                            Control Exotic Species..................................................100

                            Minimize Illegal Dumping............................................101

                        Outreach..........................................................................101

                        Summary.........................................................................102


            Chapter 9:  The Minerals Industry Can Enhance Biodiversity.....103

                        The Minerals Industry Addresses Biodiversity..................105

                            Initial Planning............................................................105

                            Reclamation Planning..................................................105

                            Minimize Contact with Oil and Related Substances......106

                            Support of Conservation Programs..............................106

                        Ways the Minerals Industry Can Improve Biodiversity Management...107

                            Incentives...................................................................107

                            Regulatory Issues........................................................107

                            Physical Practices........................................................108

                             Planning....................................................................108

                            Mitigation Banking......................................................109

                            Information and Education..........................................109

                            Miscellaneous.............................................................110

                        Outreach.........................................................................110

                        Summary........................................................................111


            Chapter 10: Water Managers Can Enhance Biodiversity.............113

                        Water Managers Benefit Biodiversity................................114

                                    Water Quality......................................................115

                                    Water Quantity....................................................116

                                    Management of Wetlands and Fisheries..............116

                        Ways Water Managers Can Enhance Biodiversity..............117

                                    Water Quality......................................................117

                                    Water Quantity....................................................118

                                    Habitat...............................................................119

                                    Exotic Species.....................................................119

                                    Education...........................................................120


            Chapter 11: Distributing Biodiversity Information to the Public...121

                        Educational Actions........................................................121

                                    Define and Describe Oklahoma’s Biodiversity.....121

                                    Dispel Myths About Biodiversity..........................122

                                    Emphasize Proactive Benefits..............................122

                                    Explain How Biodiversity Benefits Individuals......122

                                    Explain the Biodiversity Project and Plan.............122

                                    Develop Tools Targeting Specific Audiences.......122

                        Prioritized Audiences......................................................123

                                    1.  Residential....................................................123

                                    2.  Agriculture....................................................123

                                    3.  Business and Industry....................................123

                                    4.  Educators......................................................124

                                    5.  Social Organizations......................................124

                                    6.  Public Land Managers....................................124

                                    7.  Mass Media...................................................124

                                    8.  Elected Officials.............................................124

                        Products and Outlets for Biodiversity Information...........125

                                    In-house Communication...................................125

                                    Workshops or Conferences.................................125

                                    Audio Visuals.....................................................125

                                    Media Information..............................................125

                                    Printed Materials................................................125

                                    Educational Centers............................................126

                                    Miscellaneous.....................................................126


            Quick Glance at Management Recommendations......................127

                        Biological Recommendations..........................................127

                        Recommendations for Conservation and Recreational Organizations...127

                        Recommendations for Forestry and Agricultural Management...127

                        Recommendations for Heavily Used Areas......................128

                        Recommendations for the Minerals Industry...................128

                        Recommendations for Water Managers..........................129

                        Recommendations for Educational Efforts......................129