Third Annual Long Island Natural History Conference















An evaluation of management, urbanization, and isolation on grassland biodiversity within the Atlantic coastal pine barren ecoregion

Polly L. Weigand, Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District

The Atlantic Coastal Plain grasslands are culturally iconic and globally rare ecosystems that provide critical habitat for a diverse array of flora and fauna within a highly urbanized, isolated and fragmented landscape. While ecological value of many of these grasslands has been recognized through preservation and restoration, persistence in the landscape requires regular anthropogenic intervention to retrogress succession and suppress invasive species encroachment. The influence of historic land use legacies, site attributes, management regimens, urbanization and isolation on the floral diversity of the Atlantic Coastal plain grasslands will be highlighted to help advance and refine future conservation and management of these globally imperiled ecosystems.

Polly Weigand ( is a Senior Soil District Technician with the Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District and is the Executive Director of the Long Island Native Plant Initiative. She is currently finalizing her Masters of Science degree in Urban Ecology from Hofstra University. Polly earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Studies and Biology from St. Lawrence University in Canton N.Y. In addition, Ms. Weigand maintains professional accreditation as a Northeast Certified Crop Advisor. Her wealth of professional experience on Long Island ranges from wildlife management, marine fisheries, water quality monitoring and farmland planning to habitat restoration, plant propagation, and invasive species policy and management.