Abstract - A Survey of the Vegetation of Jewel Cave National Monument
Marriott, Hollis and Hartman, Ronald L. 1986. A Survey of the Vegetation of Jewel Cave National Monument. Completion Report, U.W.-N.P.S. Research Center Project. 17+ p.
Jewel Cave National Monument (hence referred to as JECA) occupied 516 ha on the southwestern edge of the Limestone Plateau area of the Black Hills (Custer Co., South Dakota). Underlain by the resistant Pahasapa limestone (Mississippian), it is characterized by steep topography and deep canyons, with elevations ranging from roughly 1550 to 1750 m above sea level. Ponderosa pine forest dominates the landscape. Much of the forest was logged at least once prior to being incorporated into the Monument during a US Forest Service - National Park Service land swap in the early 1960's. Roughly one quarter section (the "old area") was part of the original Monument and has not been logged.
Prior to 1985, studies of the vegetation and flora at JECA were limited to small projects by seasonal staff; this project was carried out to satisfy the need for more thorough baseline information. The primary objectives were two: to compile a flora (a list of vascular plants) of JECA, and to map plant communities present at the time of the study. As well as serving as a baseline for resource management, this information will be useful for above-ground interpretation. Other benefits from the project include an herbarium for the Monument, a wildflower checklist for visitor use, and several specific recommendations for management of the Monument's vegetation and flora.
Did You Know?
Fire is an important factor in protecting the prairie. Historically, fires burned across the prairie every 4 to 7 years. Fires burn the small trees that would otherwise march across the prairie and turn the grasslands to forest.