Throughout Dakota County, including Lebanon Hills, ecological processes — developed over thousands of years — have been significantly altered and degraded over the past century, resulting in:
• broken and altered ecosystems
• depleted and impaired native plant communities
• reduced and fragmented habitat
If we do nothing, the quality of resources will continue to degrade, resulting in non-functioning ecosystems and a rise in “monocultures” — or growth of a single plant (ex: buckthorn) within Lebanon Hills.
As evidenced by the lack of young oak trees, invasive buckthorn has already disrupted regeneration of this valuable tree. Once the mature trees die, there are no young trees replacing them. Wildlife diversity will continue to decline, water quality will be negatively impacted, and opportunities for nature-based recreation and education will be diminished.
However, nature is resilient, and by taking action now we can reverse this downward trend.
Ecological Restoration: The process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged or destroyed.
Initial steps for restoration requires significant clearing of woody shrub, and this has started in certain areas within Lebanon Hills. These initial stages may look alarming, however this is only the foundation of a multi-year process which will result in healthy systems including oak savannas, woodlands, and native prairies.
The Ultimate Goal: Leaving Lebanon Hills better than we found it! Oak Savannas, woodlands and native prairies, hundreds of native plants and a wide diversity of wildlife, providing high quality nature based recreation and educational opportunities for now and future generations.