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Effects of Animal Disturbance on Tallgrass Prairie Vegetation

David J. Gibson
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 121, No. 1 (Jan., 1989), pp. 144-154
Published by: University of Notre Dame
DOI: 10.2307/2425665
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2425665
Page Count: 11
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Effects of Animal Disturbance on Tallgrass Prairie Vegetation
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Abstract

Plant species associated with animal disturbances (ant hills, badger mounds, pocket gopher mounds, prairie vole burrow systems and bison wallows) were examined on a tallgrass prairie in northeast Kansas. Vegetation growing on disturbed sites was a function of both the type of disturbance and the surrounding vegetation. Annuals were an important component of the flora on some disturbances, e.g., badger mounds, but on other sites, e.g., pocket gopher mounds and ant hills, common perennial prairie species were more abundant. These effects of animals illustrate the importance of disturbance in maintaining species richness and spatial heterogeneity in tallgrass prairie.

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