• Vegetative Differences Among Active and Abandoned Towns of Black-tailed Prairie Dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus)

      Klatt, L. E.; Hein, D. (Society for Range Management, 1978-07-01)
      Vegetational differences were studied among one active prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) town and three towns which had been abandoned 1, 2, and 5 years, respectively. Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) and buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides) were dominant on all four study areas. Percent cover of total vegetation, grasses, and increaser and invader species declined with length of abandonment. Percent cover of the only decreaser, western wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii), was similar on the abandoned towns and lowest on the active town. Composition of vegetation on the four study areas did not indicate that the usual stages of secondary succession on short grass prairie had occurred on the abandoned prairie dog towns. Most changes in vegetation following abandonment of 5 years or less by prairie dogs were apparently relatively minor and would not benefit cattle grazing significantly.