Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1959

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Committee Chair


A pilot study was conducted near Lamar in the sandhills in southeastern Colorado during the summer of 1958. The purpose of the investigation was to determine the species of plants and animals present in the area and the relative abundance of each species. Two major plant communities are common in the sandhills. They are the yucca (Yucca glauca) community and the sand sage (Artemisia filifolia). Line transects were used to determine the percentage composition and basal cover. The forbs were rated as to their relative abundance. They were rated as very abundant, abundant, frequent, common, and rare in each community. The time of flowering and seed set were recorded. The major grasses in the yucca community were blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) and sand dropseed (Sporo-bolus cryptandrus). Sand dropseed was the most common grass in the sand sage area while blue grama was most abundant in the yucca community. Insects were collected and rated as to the importance of each species in the two communities. The number of grasshopper present during the study was recorded by the use of square yard quadrats. Birds were not very common in the study areas. Only ten species were considered as important. The rabbits were very abundant in the areas at the beginning of the season but the black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) decreased in numbers during the entire summer while little change was noted in the cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii) numbers. The coyote (Canis latrans) was perhaps the most important large mammal in the area. A large increase in the population occurred during the summer. Seven species of rodents were trapped on tile areas during the summer. Ord’s kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ordii) was the most abundant in both communities. The sandhills have been badly misused throughout the entire area of southeastern Colorado. Improved management is needed to replace tile present vegetation of sand sage, yucca, and sand dropseed with better species of grasses.


Copyright 1959 Fred A. Neuhold


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