Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Ronald L. Jones

Department Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Garrard County, Kentucky, was the subject of a floristic study conducted from 2010 to 2013. The study documented 961 species in 494 genera and 137 families. Garrard County encompasses 60,570 hectares in central Kentucky and includes parts of both the Bluegrass Section and the Knobs-Norman Upland of the Interior Low Plateaus. Permitted collecting at The Felix Reynolds Prairie, The Nature Conservancy's Sally Brown and Crutcher Preserve, Tom Dorman State Nature Preserve, and Maywoods Environmental and Educational Laboratory was coordinated with state and private conservation agencies. Two plant communities known to occur in the county, Limestone/Dolomite Prairie and Bluegrass Mesophytic Cane Forest, are listed as Endangered in Kentucky. Other plant communities are described and compared with previous vegetation studies of the Bluegrass and Knobs. Sixteen state-listed species were documented in the county, including a Historical species, four Endangered, five Threatened, and six Special Concern. About 18% of the flora is non-native, and 95 of these species are listed as Severe, Significant, or Moderate Threats, or Watch List. Habitat loss and invasive species continue to degrade rare plant community remnants and populations of rare plants. Applications of baseline floristic inventories can be used in assessing conservation priorities for landscape preservation in Kentucky.

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