• Effects of Controlling Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs on Plant Production

      Uresk, D. W. (Society for Range Management, 1985-09-01)
      Plant production of 43 plant species was evaluated for three treatments after poisoning black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) on rangelands in western South Dakota. The three pre-poison treatments were ungrazed (no cattle or prairie dogs), prairie dogs only, and cattle plus prairie dogs. Western wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii) had lower production on the prairie dog, and cattle-prairie dog treatments 4 years after prairie dog control, when compared with no grazing. Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides) showed a decrease in production on the cattle plus prairie dog grazing treatment, when compared to no grazing. Production of needleleaf sedge (Carex eleocharis) was lower on the cattle-prairie dog treatment, when compared to the prairie dog treatment. No other significant differences were observed over the 4-year period among the three treatments for all other species, including grass and forb categories. Prairie dog control did not increase plant production over a 4-year period. Additional time with reduced livestock grazing may be required to increase forage production.