• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Seed Study - Project Overview

During the 2004 field season, the study team gathered baseline data on the success of the five-grass commercial seed mix and on which species naturally colonized a disturbed area. One hundred permanent plots were established in the area disturbed by construction of a water pipeline. This area was planted with the standard grass mix, with a small portion being seeded in fall of 2000 and the remainder in spring 2001. These plots were paired with control plots located just off the waterline in undisturbed vegetation to determine the natural vegetation that could be expected for that soil type and site. Cover of all plant species, bare ground and litter were measured twice in all plots, once during the late spring and again during the late summer.

 
Seed Study Test Plots - Early May 2006

Seed Study Test Plots - Early May 2006

NPS Photo

The second major task of 2004 was to collect and clean seed from 48 native species to be planted in test plots located in the "mixing circle," a Park maintenance area where rubble and unused equipment had been stored. Rehabilitation of this area to natural vegetation was desired. For more information on the seed collection process and results see link. Eight different seed mixes were planted in five replicate plots (plot size 9 m2), with one planting done in early December 2004 and another in mid-May 2005. The eight mixes incorporated three levels of "conservatism," with two species mixes for each level, and two grass-only mixes (park collected vs. commercially grown). Control plots, in which nothing was planted, were also part of the experimental design.

In mid May 2005, we began to gather data on what was beginning to grow in the test plots. Data collection included mapping and counting seedlings of planted species, plus ocular cover estimates for both seeded and volunteer species. Through the process of collecting these data, we compiled a collection of photos and drawings of seedlings (often because we could not figure out what they were at first). These pictures, along with written descriptions of characteristics that we used to distinguish seedlings of a large number of species throughout the project (May 2005-September 2006) are available through the Species Table.

Some of the interesting and amusing challenges we faced in this project are documented on the Challenges page. Fore more information or for a copy of the reports from this project, please contact Amy Symstad.

Did You Know?

Sign used at Wind Cave in 1903 when the cave became a national park.

Wind Cave is the first cave in the world to be designated as a national park. That occurred on January 9, 1903.