Why
Ecological restoration projects are vital to the future of our natural world, but are usually limited in funding and resources. Land managers are therefore generally required to focus on direct restoration activities (planting seeds, prescribed burning, clearing invasives, etc.) rather than scientific surveys and assessments. NIRMI fills these neglected roles by
  • providing quantitative long-term data collection,
  • consolidating data from various sites,
  • and disseminating this information to the public.

We help land managers by providing repeated surveys of the vegetation at their sites. This type of monitoring requires special expertise, and can be expensive or impractical for many projects to do in-house. We also provide reports and tools for interpretation of the data that we collect, rather than simply providing a species list. The long-term nature of our project also allows restorationists to observe changes and trends occurring at their sites, and adjust management practices accordingly. Since we specialize in collecting and consolidating data, we can provide more complex analyses than most projects are able to produce on their own.

NIRMI helps researchers by publicly sharing our data on this website. Our regional focus makes it easy to get data from multiple projects in one place, rather than tracking each restoration down separately. Perhaps most importantly, our consistent methodology (in compliance with the National Vegetation Classification Standard) allows meaningful comparisons to be made among a variety of sites.

We also play a role in education by training and employing students from regional universities. (see our Who page for more information)

NIRMI was created because these needs were not being met in the greater Chicago Region. We have been expanding in scope since our inception in 2010, and will be adding yet more new sites in the next growing year.

See overview presentation at the 2011 Great Lakes Restoration Conference (video link - select "Predicting Restoration Success...")

Video link - panel discussion at the IU University Partnerships & Reciprocity Conference, Nov. 14, 2011. A NIRMI-specific presentation begins approximately at the 10:00 mark.

Press Release from IU Northwest's Office of Marketing and Communication.
 
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