Vegetation Community Monitoring at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

Forest landscape photo at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial.
View through the forest at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial.


Grand oak forests and endless prairies once characterized the landscape in the Midwest. Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial includes 200 acres of old fields and forests. The forests have changed a lot because of logging and restoration efforts. Park managers aim to restore the forest so visitors can experience it as the Lincoln’s did. Scientists measure vegetation at the park to understand these changes over time. They also measure vegetation to help determine if management actions are successful.
Graph of basal area in 2011 and 2015 at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial.
Graph of basal area, the area occupied by tree stems, at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. 2011 and 2015

Diameter at breast height (cm) size class ranges for overstory trees. 
Class 1 = 5-15 cm, 2 = 15-25 cm, 3 = 25-35 cm, 4 = 35-45cm, 5 = 45+cm


Scientists began measuring plants at the park in 2011, and return every four years to look for changes.
Graph of Native Understory Diversity for Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. 2011, 2015
Graph of Native Understory Diversity for Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. 2011, 2015


The forest composition did not change between 2011 and 2015. The forest has a closed canopy with several common tree species. Common trees included maples, black oak, sycamore, tulip tree, and sweet gum. Pre-settlement species like oaks and shagbark hickory were also present. In the subcanopy, flowering dogwood was the most common tree. Forty-eight species of native plants were identified on the forest floor.
The forest at Lincoln Boyhood has some species representing the historic composition. But, white oak would have been more common and maples less common. These data are a valuable way for park managers to assess park goals and develop future action plans.
View the Full Report. (pdf)

Learn more about the Heartland Inventory & Monitoring Network.

Data in this report were collected and analyzed using methods based on established, peer-reviewed protocols and were analyzed and interpreted within the guidelines of the protocols.

Last updated: April 9, 2019