Study

Experimentally induced colony expansion by black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) and implications for conservation

  • Published source details Milne-Laux S. & Sweitzer R.A. (2006) Experimentally induced colony expansion by black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) and implications for conservation. Journal of Mammalogy, 87, 296-303

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Remove vegetation by hand/machine

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Use prescribed burning

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Remove vegetation by hand/machine

    A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2002–2003 in a national park in Dakota, USA (Milne-Laux & Sweitzer 2006) found greater areas occupied by black-tailed prairie dog Cynomys ludovicianus colonies and more prairie dog burrows, in plots that were burned and mechanically cleared of woody vegetation than in plots that were not cleared or burned. The study does not distinguish between the effects of mechanical vegetation clearance and burning. At the end of the second summer after vegetation clearance, prairie dog colonies had expanded more (into 18–70% of available habitat) in burned and cleared plots compared to unmanaged plots (0–5%). In burned and cleared plots, there were more new burrows (191–458) after two summers than in unmanaged plots (41–116). At each of three prairie dog colonies, a 2-ha treatment plot, just beyond the colony boundary, underwent prescribed burning in May 2002 and mechanical removal of woody vegetation in June 2002. Similarly, selected 2-ha plots were left unmanaged. Colonies boundaries were mapped in May–September 2002 and May–August 2003. New burrows were mapped monthly during these periods.

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

  2. Use prescribed burning

    A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2002–2003 in a national park in North Dakota, USA (Milne-Laux & Sweitzer 2006) found that burning and clearing woody vegetation led to greater areas occupied by black-tailed prairie dog Cynomys ludovicianus colonies and more prairie dog burrows. The study does not distinguish between the effects of burning and mechanical vegetation clearance. After one year, prairie dog colonies occupied a greater area in plots where vegetation was cleared and burned (18–70% of available habitat) than in plots that were not cleared or burned (0–5%). Cleared and burned plots also had more new burrows (191–458) than did plots that were not cleared or burned (41–116). In each of three prairie dog colonies, a 2-ha plot just beyond the colony boundary underwent prescribed burning in May 2002 and mechanical brush removal in June 2002. Similar 2-ha plots that were not burned or cleared were used for comparison. Colony boundaries were mapped in May–September 2002 and May–August 2003. New burrows were mapped monthly during these periods.

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

Output references

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