Plant community changes associated with prairie dog usage of a suburban remnant of the shortgrass steppe
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Dr. Detling and others have documented changes in plant communities in the mixed grass prairie caused by the herbivory of the Black-tailed prairie dog, Cynomys ludovicianus. Canopy height, litter cover, and graminoid cover relative to forbs decrease, while species diversity, nitrogen mineralization, and plant shoot protein increase. The shortgrass steppe is significantly different from the mixed grass prairie: precipitation is lower, the grasses are dominated by the drought resistant (hence grazing resistant) grass blue grama, and prairie dog colonies are killed off periodically by plague. ...