US Fish & Wildlife Service


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In: J. Thorpe, T. Steeves, and M. Gollop (editors). Proceedings of the Fifth Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference, Saskatchewan, Canada. Natural History Occasional Paper no. 24, Provincial Museum of Alberta.


We quantified plant species richness, frequency, percent cover and percent bare ground on black-tailed prairie dog colonies and non-colonized areas in southwest Kansas in 1996 and 1997. In 1996 field sampling occurred after 12 months of below-average precipitation, while field sampling in 1997 occurred after 10 months of above-average precipitation. In 1996 prairie dog colonies were characterized by lower percentages of grass cover and higher percentages of forb cover than non-colonized sites, but there was no difference in percent bare ground. In 1997 percent grass cover, forb cover and bare ground was similar for prairie dog colonies and non-colonized areas. A preliminary analysis indicates that plant species richness of prairie dog colonies was similar to that of non-colonized areas. In 1996 four perennial grasses, two perennial forbs and one annual forb differed in frequency among the treatments. In 1997 seven perennial grasses, seven perennial forbs, six annual or biennial forbs and one annual grass differed in frequency among the treatments.