Vegetation mapping of National Park units in the Great Plains
We have mapped the vegetation of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and the Homestead National Monument, both in the Great Plains, and final reports are available for each:
A three-year program was initiated to complete the task of mapping and classifying the vegetation at both sites. The Kansas Biological Survey, in conjunction with NatureServe, developed a vegetation classification using the National Vegetation Classification System and produced digital vegetation maps. To classify the vegetation, plots were sampled during the summer of 2008. Additional data were obtained from vegetation plots sampled by the Inventory & Monitoring program in 2006.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve encompasses 10,894 acres in eastern Kansas, just north of Strong City. This park unit was created on November 12, 1996, and is the first to protect a nationally significant example of the once vast tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Location map
Of the 400,000 square miles of tallgrass prairie that once covered the North American continent, less than 4 percent remains, primarily in the Flint Hills. The park unit is primarily rocky upland prairies and deep-soiled lowland prairies. It also contains some wet prairie ravines and riparian forests, as well as some former cropland and restored prairie.
To classify the vegetation, plots located throughout the preserve were sampled during the summer of 2008. Additional data were obtained from vegetation plots sampled by the Inventory & Monitoring program in 2006. Analysis of the plot data by the Biological Survey produced 12 map units (eight vegetated and four land-use) which are directly matched to corresponding plant associations and land-use classes.
Descriptions and a field key for all plant communities at the preserve are included in the final report. Draft maps were printed, field tested, reviewed and revised. Accuracy assessment (AA) data points were collected on 112 data points in 2009 by the Biological Survey and used to verify the map’s accuracy. Vegetation map
Homestead National Monument
Homestead National Monument was created to commemorate the significance of the Homestead Act of 1862, which granted 160 acres of free land to claimants and was one of the most significant and enduring events in the westward expansion of the United States. Homestead encompasses 184 acres in Gage County, west of Beatrice, Nebraska. Location map (To enlarge the image that comes up, please click on it.)
This site also hosts the oldest prairie restoration in the National Park system and the second-oldest tallgrass prairie restoration known. It has a small remnant of native tallgrass prairie and remnants of bur oak forest.
To classify the vegetation, 17 representative plots located throughout the approximately 1,725-acre project area (parks and environs) were sampled during summer 2008. Additional data were obtained from vegetation plots sampled by the Inventory & Monitoring program in 2006. Our analysis of the plot data by produced six distinct plant associations and alliances and four land-use classes. Two of the communities, encompassing the upland and lowland restored tallgrass prairie area, were unique to Homestead. Descriptions and a field key for all plant communities of Homestead are included in the final report.
Draft maps were printed, field tested, reviewed and revised. Twelve accuracy assessment (AA) data points were collected in 2009 by the Biological Survey and used to verify the map’s accuracy. Vegetation map