National Park Service


Date of this Version



Natural Resource Report NPS/HTLN/NRR—2018/1582 / NPS 031/142202, January 2018: v, 17 pages

Editing and design by Tani Hubbard

Published by the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Please cite this publication as:

Leis, S. A., and L. W. Morrison. 2018. Long-term trends in vegetation and management intensity: Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve 1995–2014. Natural Resource Report NPS/HTLN/NRR—2018/1582. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.


United States government work. Public domain material.



Inventory and Monitoring Networks of the National Park Service are charged with collecting and reporting data related to the status and trends of key natural resources. We have analyzed a suite of grazing data from 1995- 2016, fire history data from 1998-2015, and vegetation community data from 2002-2014 to better understand trends as they relate to management strategies at the preserve over time. We found that cattle stocking rates declined and fires became less frequent over the latter half of the record. Similarly, bare ground declined, woody species increased slightly, and the floristic quality index was relatively stable with a decline in 2014. Although it is difficult to directly infer cause and effect from our monitoring design, the data are valuable for helping park managers evaluate their goals and develop future action plans.