Title: Impact of soil type on vegetation response to prairie dog herbivory Authors
Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 2011
Publication Date: January 28, 2012
Citation: Hendrickson, J.R., Liebig, M.A., Barth, C., Sedivec, K. 2012. Impact of soil type on vegetation response to prairie dog herbivory. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. Poster 53, Reference #0231. Technical Abstract: Prairie dogs and their impact on vegetation have been the focus of numerous research projects. However, the effect of soil from this interaction has been less thoroughly documented. We evaluated prairie dog colonies (on-colony) and nearby sites without prairie dogs (off-colony) on Wayden, Cabba and Hurley soils near Mahto, South Dakota. Four prairie dog burrows were sampled on each soil type. Burrows were selected based on burrow opening size and signs of recent prairie dog activity. Four randomly located points were located on the same soil type nearby. Two 1/8 m2 quadrats were clipped one m from the center of the hole or the random point. All plants within quadrats were clipped at ground level and sorted to species. Plant biomass was dried at 60o C for three days and weighed. Individual plant species biomass was complied to determine total biomass for each quadrat. Species number was also recorded for each quadrat. Biomass was not different between soil types on the prairie dog colonies (556, 497, 669 kg/ha for Cabba, Hurley and Wayden respectively) but off-colony, Cabba soils (2526 kg/ha) had more biomass than Wayden soils (1951 kg/ha) which had more biomass than the Hurley soils (966 kg/ha). The Cabba soil site had more species on-colony than off-colony but this was reversed for the Wayden and Hurley soil sites. This information showed the importance of soils in evaluating the impacts of prairie dogs on vegetation.