The purpose of a Natural Areas Land Management Plan for the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum is to create a forward-focused systematic document that covers the most essential topics for land management. The ecological history of southeast Michigan led to a suite of natural communities located at Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Horner-McLaughlin Woods. Each community type supports a different network of wildlife and plant species. Depending on the location, the site may also encourage human interaction. As one example, volunteer stewardship is a practice integral to the successful management of natural areas. For these reasons, this Master’s project examined both the natural and social environment. Using collected information, Team Botanical developed a natural areas management plan to guide future management actions. The plan first describes the properties through site characteristics, historical events, and current observations. Then the plan recommends management techniques such as species surveys,
target plant communities, prescribed fire, and potential collaborative species introductions along a feasible timeline. The key goal is to establish a process such that those working in natural areas have a tool to develop additional land management plans.