New forest preserve boasts rare habitat
DeKALB – Terry Hannan is used to maintaining wetlands, oak savannas and prairies in the county’s forest preserves, but the county’s newest park features one of the rarest ecosystems in the Midwest.
Hannan, superintendent of the DeKalb County Forest Preserve, said the new 43-acre Prairie Oaks Forest Preserve features multiple habitats with special features such as massive 200-year-old oak trees and a rare fen ecosystem.
A fen is similar to a bog, but with key differences such as receiving its nutrients from groundwater, which allows it to support a much more diverse array of plants and animals, Hannan said. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency identified fens as one of the fastest declining ecosystems, which is why preservation efforts are important to the habitat that takes 10,000 years to form naturally.
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