Nebraska Game and Parks Commission



Nagel, Dr. Harold G. Undated. Willa Cather Ecological Prairie: An Ecological Overview. The Nature Conservancy. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. 84 pp.


This report includes data gathered on the ecology of a 610 acre mixed grass prairie in south-central Nebraska over a two year period.

An attempt was made to identify as many of the plant and animal species present and to determine density and standing crop biomass wherever possible, under the time and financial constraints present. Few attempts have been made to develop complete species checklists for both animals and plants in prairies. The data collected are considered baseline conditions against which comparisons can be made after a management plan is carried out.

This study of Cather Prairie had several objectives. These were:

(1) To identify major species found on the prairie and to preserve representatives of plant and invertebrate animals;

(2) To estimate animal populations and plant productivity by species;

(3) To determine species diversity of plants and animals;

(4) To photographically document the present condition of the prairie, for later comparisons;

(5) To determine interactions between species found on the prairie, especially food habits; and

To evaluate data collected in the above objectives and make management recommendations for the prairie to facilitate improving and then maintaining the prairie in near pristine (pre-settlement) condition.