Grasslands are among the most imperiled ecosystems in the world where the loss of native species is a consequence of agriculture and desertification. In North America, 90% of the grassland has been converted to cropland where vast areas are now desertified. North America's most iconic grassland herbivores, bison and prairie dogs, are now extinct throughout most of their historic range. This study measures the standing crop of plant vegetation (perennial and annual combined) for the year on areas occupied and not occupied by Gunnison's prairie dogs on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).
Three replicates of two treatments: 1)plots where prairie dogs have been reintroduced and 2)control plots.Sampling design
Each 100 x 100m plot contains 36 sample units (quads) that are 20m apart in a 6 x 6 grid. These quads are numbered in a zig zag pattern starting in the NE corner of the plot where the first six quads go north to south, the next six plots that are west of the first quads go south to north, and so on for the remaining quads on the plot. These quads are marked by a numbered rebar stake. Standing crop samples are taken in the 16 most inner stakes near the rebar stake, but not where vegetation quads are located.Field/laboratory proceducres
Total above ground annual plant standing crop is collected each fall during peak growth from 16 Daubenmier (0.25m x 0.50m) frame quads. All vegetation rooted in the quad are clipped to the soil surface and placed in brown paper bags. Samples are dried at 55 degrees Celsius in an oven for 48 hours then weighed.
Metadata put into access 26 May 2009. tlk. checked for obvious errors, 11 January 2010 tlk. If you find any errors or have questions, please contact the information manager.
Data were entered from data sheets into an excel spreadsheet. Data were then checked against data sheets following entry.
More information about who is involved with the samples/data: Mike Friggens 1999-September 2001Karen Wetherill February 7, 2000-Augst 2009Terri Koontz February 2000-August 2003 August 2006-PresentShana Pennington February 2000-August 2000Heather Simpson August 2000-August 2002Chris Roberts September 2001-August 2002Caleb Hickman September 9, 2002-November 15, 2004Seth Munson September 9, 2002-June 2004Maya Kapoor August 9, 2003-January 21, 2005Tessa Edelen August 15, 2004-August 15, 2005Charity Hall January 31, 2005-January 3, 2006Yang Xia January 31, 2005-PresentMichell Thomey September 3, 2005-August 2008Jay McLeod January 2006-August 2006Amaris Swann August 25, 2008-PresentJohn Mulhouse August 2009-PresentAmanda Boutz August 2009-Present
Additional Study Area Information
Study Area Name: Prairie Dog Town
Study Area Location: The study area is about 655 ha (~2.5 sq mi) in size and approximately 1 km due west from the foothills of the Los Pinos Mountains. The study is also just north of the Blue Grama Core Site.Elevation: 1670 mSoils: sandy loam and sandy clay loamSite history: historically large prairie dog colonies inhabited the study area.