Avian community responses to fire, grazing and drought in the tallgrass prairie

TitleAvian community responses to fire, grazing and drought in the tallgrass prairie
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsZimmerman, JL
EditorKnopf, FL, Samson, FB
Book TitleEcology and Conservation of Great Plains Vertebrates
Pagination167 -180
PublisherSpringer Verlag
CityNew York
Accession NumberKNZ00617
Keywordstallgrass prairie

Vegetation typical of the tallgrass prairie occurs east of the Great Plains in bottomland “openings” and as small “glades” or “balds” within the eastern deciduous forest. West of the Mississippi River, however, coverage by tallgrass prairie expands with the increasingly greater aridity under the deepening rainshadow of the western mountains. Along the Kansas-Missouri border on the western fringe of the deciduous forest, prairie is present across 50–80% of the region (Schroeder 1983). Forested area within this prairie-forest mosaic continues to diminish, decreasing to as little as 7% in the Flint Hills Uplands (Knight et al. 1994). The portion of the Great Plains characterized by the tallgrass prairie community exists in a climate that allows the development of forest as a bordering “gallery” along stream courses. These naturally occurring forest fragments, these island remnants of the continental forest to the east, remain an integral aspect of the tallgrass prairie landscape, contributing a disproportionately greater component, considering the small extent of their coverage, to the regional avian species richness (Faanes 1984, Zimmerman 1993).