Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2005


Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 15, No. 1, 2005. Copyright © 2005 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Mammals impact prairie ecosystems through burrowing activities. Burrows used by carnivores were studied in four habitat types at the Konza Prairie Biological Station, a native tallgrass prairie near Manhattan, KS. We surveyed nearly 40 km of l0-m-wide transects and counted burrows in upland, slope, and lowland prairie and along ravines. Burrows were placed selectively along slopes (7.3 per km) and to a lesser extent along edges of ravines (4.2), but only infrequently in upland (0.6) and never in lowlands (0.0). We also recorded features (e.g., location, aspect, and slope steepness) along slope transects at a 30 m intervals to estimate availability of these features. Points of hills (J 8.7 burrows per km) were used more than sides of hills (2.0) or upper ends of ravines (1.5). Burrows on points were placed selectively on steep rather than shallow slopes and on south- and west-facing slopes rather than north- and east-facing slopes.