Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Ecology, Vol. 21, No. 2 (Apr., 1940), pp. 216-236. Copyright 1940 Ecological Society of America. Used by permission.


The native grasses of the mixed prairie and short-grass plains disclimax have been subjected for a long period of years to extreme drought, much overstocking, and severe damage from dust. Behavior of the vegetation during the dry year of 1933, the extreme drought of 1934, and the terrible dust storms and intermittent periods of desiccation during subsequent years, has been continuously observed (Weaver and Albertson, '36). Previous studies in this area furnished a back- ground which enabled one to compare present conditions with those of the pre-drought period (Weaver, '24; Clements and Weaver, '24; Albertson, '37). A large series of exclosures and permanent quadrats supplemented by phytometers and measurements of environmental factors have revealed the nature and causes of changes in vegetation over extensive areas in western Kansas. While these data are being evaluated, and especially because of the recurrent severity of the summer drought of the present year (1939), it seemed advisable to compare the grasslands of the western half of Kansas with those of a much wider area which has undergone similar vicissitudes.