Despite favorable locations and the potential for economic development, Native American tribes have not developed their ecotourism markets substantially. This paper presents a choice experiment analysis of potential tourist and local resident preferences for alternative ecotourism development scenarios for the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. The choice experiments elicitation featured attributes of both cultural and nature-based tourist attractions. Survey results demonstrated that visitors interviewed at powwows had significantly different preferences from those interviewed at local tourist attractions. Results from all samples showed positive preferences towards an amphitheater, a nature trail, and a bison meal, and no preference toward an ATV trail. Non-powwow tourists had significant willingness to pay for a number of potential attractions, including nature trails, a road through the bison pasture, and an interpretive center with amphitheatre show.
Ecosystem, species and genetic dimensions of biodiversity have eroded since widespread settlement of the Great Plains. Conversion of native vegetation in the region followed the precipitation gradient, with the greatest conversion in the eastern tallgrass prairie and eastern mixed-grass types. Areas now dominated by intensive land uses are "hot spots" for exotic birds. However, species of all taxa listed as threatened or endangered are well-distributed across the Great Plains. These species are often associated with special landscape features, such as wetlands, rivers, caves, sandhills and prairie dog towns. In the long run, sustaining biodiversity in the Great Plains, and the goods and services we derive from the plains, will depend on how successfully we can manage to maintain and restore habitat variation and revitalize ecosystem functioning. Public policy and legislation played a significant role in the degradation of native habitats in the region. Both policy and legislation wi...
The most comprehensive water policy analysis conducted on the High Plains region to date was the High Plains Ogallala Regional Aquifer Study completed in 1982. Twenty years later, we had a unique opportunity to compare the projections from this study with the changes that actually occurred over the past two decades. Specific comparisons were made for the area of western Kansas overlying the High Plains Aquifer. These comparisons revealed some significant differences in the status of the aquifer and in the region's economic development, relative to the predictions of the study. Most notably, contrary to the study's predictions, irrigated area did not decline precipitously, but rather continued to increase during the period. Despite large increases in irrigated area and production of more water-intensive crops, such as corn and alfalfa, both per-unit area and total water use declined over the 20 years. Differences in observed and projected results can be attributed to a variety of factors, including large differences in crop prices, yield trends, energy prices, farm commodity programs, and irrigation technologies relative to those assumed in the study. Future research will need to better account for these factors to offer useful guidance in setting water management policies.
We examined the sustainability of the livestock grazing industry in the Great Plains of North America relative to ecological processes, economic viability, and social acceptance. We conclude from the review that livestock grazing is an appropriate use of Great Plains grasslands and, when properly managed, ecologically sustainable. However, we also present evidence that the Great Plains grazing industry is not always economically sustainable or socially acceptable. We attribute this anomaly in large part to the consuming public's general lack of understanding and appreciation for the ecological linkages between current livestock grazing tactics and the evolutionary history of the Great Plains. A contributing factor to this problem is the scientific community's interjection of personal biases and value systems when interpreting ecological response patterns to varying forms of land use. We present evidence in support of this hypothesis by comparing statements and supporting literature citations from three recently published literature reviews addressing the ecological impacts of livestock grazing on North American rangelands.
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations have in the past, and continue today, to increase in the Great Plains and North America. However, their impact on native plant species and endangered ecosystems such as the tallgrass prairie is poorly documented. To better understand the consequences of increasing deer numbers for native shrubs in grasslands, we assessed the extent of their summer browsing activity on six shrub species (wild plum, rough-leaved dogwood, smooth sumac, fragrant sumac, and coralberry) along transects that spanned riparian margins to upland tallgrass prairie. The proportion of terminal shoots browsed was quantified along established white-tail deer trails and in parallel transects off trails in watersheds that varied in fire history at the Konza Prairie Biological Station (Kansas). Proximity to deer trails was a strong determinant of deer browsing activity. Along trails, 20% of the twigs surveyed (N = 60,032) were browsed, whereas off trails less than 1% of twigs (N = 14,785) were browsed. Coralberry and rough-leaved dogwood comprised 80% of the shrub cover along trails, whereas wild plum, prickly ash, smooth sumac, and fragrant sumac had less cover, in that order. However, browsing was greatest on wild plum and rough-leaved dogwood (between 40% and 50% of available twigs), and the proportion of twigs browsed out of the total twigs used was highest for rough-leaved dogwood. Based on preference ratios (use/abundance), white-tail deer are likely to have the greatest impact on the less common wild plum and smooth sumac as well as rough-leaved dogwood. Interestingly, white-tail deer avoided the most common shrub, coralberry, at this time of year. Our results suggest that even in summer, when deer tend also to forage on herbaceous species in grasslands, deer browsing may have significant local impacts on woody species of tallgrass prairies in the Great Plains. Concurrent increases in woody plant cover and abundance in grasslands throughout the Great Plains suggest that deer browsing is not yet intense enough to prevent shrub expansion into tallgrass prairie.
Grazing management on the Great Plains has been criticized for not more closely matching the presumed grazing patterns of bison. The critics assume that bison "flash grazed," that is, grazed heavily for a short time, then moved on, and did not return for months or even years. This assumption complements the traditional view of an annual north-south migration of the herds. However, evidence from explorers' and other travelers' journals contradict both flash grazing and annual north-south migration. In a few cases where prolonged continuous observations were made in the same favorable habitat, bison were seldom absent. In Canada, bison sometimes moved from the plains into the bordering aspen parklands during severe winter weather, but not regularly and not north-south. Throughout the Great Plains, bison numbers were so great and so thoroughly spread over the country that if a herd moved on, they were quickly replaced by another, giving little opportunity for rest or regrowth of the plant communities. Bison appeared to move in response to local conditions of forage availability, as influenced by weather, fire, and previous grazing. In at least one case, bison remained on a depleted watershed until they starved, rather than moving to an adjacent watershed with adequate forage.
Switchgrass, Panicum virgatum L., one of the three dominant grasses of the North American tall grass prairie, is a genetically and morphologically diverse species with an array of ploidy levels, or set of chromosomes, and ecotypes. The relationship between DNA content and ploidy level has been controversial. The objectives of this study were to provide clear photodocumentation of switchgrass chromosome numbers and to clarify the relationship between nuclear DNA content and chromosome number. Defining the relationship between ploidy level and nuclear DNA content will facilitate the use of molecular biology techniques, such as flow cytometry, in plant breeding and evolutionary biology. The switchgrass tetraploids examined, which contain 4 sets of chromosomes, had 36 chromosomes with a nuclear DNA content of 3.1 pg/nuclei, while octaploids (8 sets of chromosomes) had 72 chromosomes with 6.1 pg/nuclei. Tetraploid plants from lowland ecotypes had the same nuclear DNA content as tetraploid plants from upland ecotypes. Normal diploid chromosome pairing occurred at meiosis for all tetraploid and octaploid plants examined. Our results indicate that the lowland and upland ecotypes have the same basic genome, and that the octaploids most likely evolved from the tetraploids by a natural doubling of chromosomes, and did so long enough ago for meiosis to be stabilized. Further research is needed to explore the evolutionary origins of switchgrass.
Livestock gains of yearling Hereford heifers were evaluated during 1996–1999 on two complementary forage grasses, “Bozoisky-Select” Russian wildrye (Psathyrostachys juncea [Fisch.] Nevski) or “Hycrest” crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum [L.] Gaertn. ssp. desertorum [Fisch. ex Link] A. Love). Average daily gains were similar between light and moderate stocking rates for both Bozoisky and Hycrest, and gains trended higher for Hycrest than for Bozoisky at light stocking rates. Total annual (spring + fall) beef production (kg/ ha) was consistently greater for moderate (29%–46%) than for light stocking of both complementary forages. Spring gains represented >75% of the total annual beef production across forages. Average daily gains on these complementary forages were similar to those on native shortgrass steppe for the summer grazing season, but total annual beef production was two to four times greater with the complementary forages, suggesting that both Hycrest and Bozoisky can fill forage gaps and provide significant contributions to beef production.
A small, isolated population of the threatened western prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera praeclara Sheviak & Bowles) occurs at Pipestone National Monument, Minnesota, in a mesic prairie that is periodically burned to control invasive cool-season grasses. During 1995-2004, monitoring counts of flowering orchids in the monument varied considerably for different years. Similar precipitation amounts in the spring and histories of burning suggest that fire and precipitation in the spring were not the causes of the variation. For the eight non-burn years in the monitoring record, we compared the number of flowering plants and the precipitation amounts during six growth stages of the orchid and found a 2-variab1e model (precipitation during senescence/bud development and precipitation in the dormant period) explained 77% of the annual variation in number of flowering plants. We also conducted a fire experiment in early May 2002, the typical prescribed burn period for the monument, and found that the frequency of flowering, vegetative, and absent plants observed in July did not differ between burned and protected locations of orchids. We used the model and forecasts of precipitation in the spring to develop provisional burn decision scenarios. We discussed management implications of the scenarios.
It is our thesis that members of the Stephen Long Expedition of 1819-20 completed the first biodiversity inventory undertaken in the United States at their winter quarters, Engineer Cantonment, Missouri Territory, in the modern state of Nebraska. This accomplishment has been overlooked both by biologists and historians, but it should rank among the most significant accomplishments of the expedition. The results of this inventory allow us to evaluate the environmental, faunal, and floral changes along the Missouri River in the intervening nearly 190 years. The historical records form a visual image of a dynamic riverine system in which a highly meandering river flows through a wide valley filled with oxbows, palustrine wetlands, and scattered groves of trees. This system has now been modified to a channelized river with the surrounding wetlands drained and converted to agricultural and municipal purposes. The suppression of prairie fires and the adoption of irrigation practices have promoted the growth of trees and other woody vegetation. The city of Omaha and its suburbs are expanding and encroaching on the site from the south and west. At least three taxa recorded at the site have become extinct-Ectopistes migratorius (passenger pigeon), Conuropsis carolinensis (Carolina parakeet), and Canis lupus nubilus (plains subspecies of the gray wolf)-and several more have been extirpated from the region. For mammals, the data indicate that nine species of the 1819-20 fauna have been lost, and two species have been added, thus resulting in a net loss of seven species. These changes represent a net loss of 15% of the mammalian biodiversity originally present in the Engineer Cantonment area. The species richness estimator for Engineer Cantonment in 1819-20 is 403 for vertebrates, insects, snails, and plants, but it is clear that this number is extremely low, because plants were not thoroughly surveyed by the expedition and only a small fraction of the insects were collected.
The religious heritage of the Great Plains is illustrated in distinct denominational regions. Mapping county-level data on major denominations reveals that Catholics and Lutherans are strongest in the Northern Plains, Methodists in the Central Plains, and Baptists in the Southern Plains. Counties that are increasing in population and closest to metropolitan and interstate areas experience the most diversity. During the last fifty years, Lutherans and Methodists have lost members, while Catholics and Baptists gained. The Central Plains is experiencing the most dynamism.
Unlike most of the Great Plains, Texas's Edwards Plateau lies near large, rapidly growing metropolitan centers. County-to-county migration data for the period 1985-1990 were used to examine migration patterns in Edwards Plateau counties. Weighted standard distance and stream efficiency values were used to analyze county inmigration fields of 28 nonmetropolitan counties. A key finding was that net in-migration to counties closest to metropolitan areas was not mere "urban spillover." There were also indications that counterurban migration extended beyond metropolitan-adjacent counties to more sparsely populated destinations. Counterurbanization was occurring from central counties of the nation's largest metropolitan areas and some Texas metropolitan areas. In-migration from the Gulf Coast of Texas played an important role in the Edwards Plateau. The migration system of the Edwards Plateau appears to have functioned differently than non-metropolitan counties in the High Plains. Continued change is supported by data from the 2000 census.
In several areas of the United States previously not known for foreign populations, the number of Hispanics and Asians have increased in the past two decades. I examined the percentage change for Hispanics and for Asians for 41 cities in the states of Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota between 1990 and 2000. Hispanics and Asians are then disaggregated by ethnic subgroup, and regression analysis is used to determine the characteristics of cities that attract or repel different subgroups for both 1990 and 2000. In 2000 Mexicans, Other Hispanics, and Vietnamese were attracted to cities with low income levels and cities with a flourishing meat-processing industry. Chinese, Koreans, and Indians were attracted to cities with a public university and high levels of income. Clearly, Hispanics and Vietnamese were attracted to different cities than were the other Asian groups. This most likely reflects the educational differences between the two groups.
The depopulation of the Great Plains continues to draw the attention of rural scholars. However, a number of aspects of migration in the region remain poorly understood. For example, what differences exist among migrants in terms of their economic characteristics? Recent research shows that there is tremendous variability in the amount of income each migrant brings to or takes from a region. Using county-level Internal Revenue Service data for migration flows between 1995 and 1998, we explore the spatial patterns of income and population migration, while contrasting the income flows of in-migrants versus out-migrants. The results show that income flows out of the Great Plains exceed what might be expected given the pattern of net out-migration, and that many of the migration flows into the region may be reinforcing pockets of poverty. These findings should concern local officials worried about preserving public and private services in rural areas in the face of a declining population and tax base.
Prescribed burning is commonly used to prevent succession of tallgrass prairie to woody vegetation, which preserves the prairie's value to ranching and native wildlife. However, burning has negative effects as well, including potentially harming wildlife and releasing pollutants into the atmosphere. Research concerning the effects of fire on vegetation dynamics, wildlife, and air quality would benefit greatly from maps of burned areas in the Flint Hills, as no reliable quantification of burned areas currently exists. We used Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite imagery to map burned areas in the Flint Hills for each year from 2000 to 2010. Our maps revealed the total amount and spatial pattern of burning for each year. They also revealed the frequency with which different parts of the study area were burned during the 11-year study period. Finally, our maps showed that nearly all burning took place during the month of April.
The relationship between monthly midtropospheric circulation variations, occurring in the North American sector, and surface temperature and precipitation across the Great Plains is evaluated for the middle month of each season (January, April, July, and October). The results demonstrate that monthly Great Plains temperature variability is strongly associated with the major pattems of midtropospheric circulation variation during all months considered. Temporally, the strongest associations are observed during October. However, January, July, and April also exhibit spatially coherent regions of strong association. Spatially, the relationship tends to be strongest in the northern Plains, with decreasing association to the south. Precipitation-midtroposphere relationships are weaker than those for temperature during all months. The association between the midtroposphere and precipitation is relatively strong from late fall through late spring. However, the convective nature of precipitation in the region during the summer months limits any strong relationships in July. In a spatial sense, no preferred regions of precipitation explanation were indicated in the analysis.
The abundance and habitat associations of overwintering birds in Platte River Valley of central Nebraska may influence their long-term survival. I observed a total of 51 species over a three-year period in shrub-grassland, forest, grassland, and cropland habitats during the winter. Grassland habitats had the lowest abundance of wintering birds, while abundances in shrub-grassland, forest, and cropland habitats were higher and similar. Species richness was highest in forests (xmacr; = 2.97 species) and lowest in grasslands (xamcr; = 0.73 species) and croplands (xamcr; = 0.57 species). Overall, horned larks (Eremophila alpestris), American tree sparrows (Spizella arborea), black-capped chickadees (Parus atricapillus), dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis), western meadowlarks (Sturnella neglecta), and red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) were the most abundant wintering birds in the Platte River Valley. American tree sparrows (34%) accounted for most of the birds in shrub-grasslands, while black-capped chickadees (18%), dark-eyed juncos (11%), and American tree sparrows (10%) accounted for most of the birds in forests. Grasslands were dominated by American tree sparrows (39%) and western meadowlarks (27%), and croplands were dominated by horned larks (43%), red-winged blackbirds (25%), and western meadowlarks (16%). The winter bird community in the Platte River Valley is dominated by woodland-associated species. Many of the woodland-associated species that overwinter in the Platte River Valley have likely benefited from the development of woodlands in the region.
Recorded presettlement observations of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are not adequate to fully determine their abundance and distribution. Early naturalists and explorers made only casual reports of prairie dogs on an opportunistic basis; their written records do not represent systematic surveys. Cumulative accounts of prairie dog control efforts, together with the known current prairie dog distribution in North Dakota and Montana, clearly show that most journalists failed to record prairie dog colonies. Also, they restricted their travels to a few common routes, and as a result only a very small and select portion of the landscape was surveyed. The hypothesis that prairie dogs dramatically increased in abundance following settlement is highly speculative. It ignores the fact that the Great Plains were once populated by large numbers of native ungulates, and that prairie dog control efforts began as early as the 1880s. Many lines of evidence suggest that the black-tailed prairie dog was common prior to European-American settlement and occupied 2%-15% of large landscapes (400,000 ha or more). There are systematic accounts of prairie dogs at the time of settlement, government records concerning poisoning efforts, physical evidence of abandoned historic colonies, and contemporary information on prairie dog ecology, dispersal, distribution, and abundance, as well as presettlement accounts of large colonies measured in miles. The association of an obligate predator (the black-footed ferret [Mustela nigripes]) and a commensal bird species (e.g., mountain plover [Charadrius montanus] and burrowing owl [Athene cunicularia]) with the prairie dog (Cynomys spp.) is considered additional evidence that prairie dogs were abundant and widespread for an extended period. The presence of black-tailed prairie dogs throughout the short- and mixed-grass regions of the Great Plains from southern Canada to northern Mexico provided an important and unique habitat to a variety of wildlife species. We conclude that the black-tailed prairie dog was more abundant than suggested by tallies of observations in the journals of early European travelers.
Anthropogenic modification of native woodlands and grasslands in the Great Plains has altered the abundance and distribution of many species of mammals. To study habitat effects on the eastern woodrat (Neotoma fioridana), we surveyed nests of the eastern woodrat in woodlands, grasslands, and croplands along 77 km of secondary roads in three counties in north-central Kansas. All nests were located in woodlands (<2% of habitat), although grasslands and croplands constituted 36% and 62% of habitat surveyed, respectively. In our survey, nests were associated positively with shelterbelts (3.6 nests per 100 m of road edge) but not with shrub patches (1.1 nests per 100 m of road edge) or riparian woodlands (0.3 nests per 100 m of road edge). Consequently, we specifically censused nests in an additional 12 riparian woodlands and 12 shelterbelts. Nests of eastern Woodrats were less dense in riparian woodlands (9.4 nests/ha) than in shelterbelts (55.5 nests/ha). Density of woodrat nests decreased as width of a wooded area increased. Further, nests per 100 m of length of woodland did not increase as the width of woodland increased. These patterns suggest that woodland edge, not woodland interior, is the primary factor in abundance of eastern woodrats in this region. Although the eastern woodrat has previously been considered a woodland species, our results suggest that this assessment is incorrect. Our observations demonstrate that anthropogenic modification of the Great Plains, in the form of planted shelterbelts and expanded riparian woodland, likely has increased the distribution and abundance of eastern woodrats, compared to the mid-1800s.
Although rangeland grasshopper populations have been studied for more than 120 years, little is known of the spatial patterns in grasshopper numbers between outbreak cycles. This information is necessary to understand how grasshopper outbreaks develop and to correctly design research, monitoring, and modeling projects. We used exploratory data analysis and geostatistics to identify the spatial patterns in grasshopper numbers for 1993 through 1997 in Colorado. The same family of models (spherical) provided the best fit to the sample data for all years, which implies that similar processes influenced grasshopper densities over these years. The parameters of the models differed among years, however, which suggests that the scale of spatial patterning changed over time. Since Colorado grasshopper densities were patterned at scales larger than those reported for other areas of the Great Plains, our results suggest that survey methods for Colorado are not adequate to identify small-scale "hot spots" of high grasshopper numbers, inhibiting prediction of potential outbreak foci in this region.
The Northern Plains is a region in central North America where the more humid and fertile prairies of the Midwest transition to the arid and mountainous American West. The point “where the West begins” has captured the imagination of many writers, artists, and sociologists, who have noted that cultural attributes of the residents change along with important divisions in soil composition, flora, fauna, precipitation, and air moisture. However, the degree to which cultural attributes change along with these biophysical characteristics has not received close empirical scrutiny. Agricultural producers are uniquely tied to the landscape, and identifying the values and practices employed by these producers sheds light on how various climatic and physical features shape attitudes toward the environment, the community, and land-use practices. A mail survey (N = 517) to agricultural producers across three Northern Plains states analyzes how environmental attitudes, place attachment, and supplementary land-use preferences to agricultural activity are related to geographic, biophysical, and sociodemographic characteristics associated with the transition zone. Additionally, this study contributes to the literature regarding sociocultural differences between the American West and Midwest, acknowledges weaknesses in this approach, and offer suggestions for future research.
Tiger beetles are common predators in open habitats throughout the Great Plains, including the eastern salt marshes. Adult tiger beetles are active searchers that attack and eat small insects. By contrast, their larvae are sit-and-wait predators that form permanent burrows and depend on prey moving within striking distance. We hypothesized that adults and larvae of the tiger beetle, Cicindela togata globicollis Casey, would differ in their utilization of lipid (fat) energy reserves, such as fatty acids, based on differences in the likelihood of starvation. To investigate this, we determined the fatty acid profiles from larvae and adult tiger beetles. We found that normally-feeding adults and larvae did not differ substantially in their fatty acid profiles. But, after fasting for a two-week period, larvae selectively used their lipid reserves while adults did not. Moreover, in contrast to all other insect species studied, we found that larval tiger beetles were not able to biosynthesize fatty acids from acetate. Our findings suggest that larvae optimize the use of fatty acids to allow for a lengthy larval developmental period in environments, such as the Great Plains, that provide unreliable and unpredictable food resources.
Political and socioeconomic pressures on riparian areas in semiarid regions of the Great Plains are growing as water resources become more limited. Management along waterways has altered stream ecology and hydrology in ways that encourage the invasion and expansion of native (e.g., Juniperus virginiana) and non-native (e.g., Tamarix sp. and Elaeagnus angustifolia) woody species. One management tool currently implemented to restore the hydrology or increase water yields along waterways in semiarid areas is the removal of vegetation or invasive species. How managers should respond to invasive woody plants to optimize hydrological functions without compromising other riparian ecosystem functions is still debatable. In this manuscript, we provide an overview of the ecological status and hydrological role of riparian vegetation in the northern Great Plains, with examples drawn from the region and other semiarid areas. Additionally, we present information compiled from published studies on water consumption of native and non-native species at both tree and stand levels, and we evaluate the ecohydrological outcomes from removal of invasive woody vegetation. Lastly, we consider the economic costs and benefits of woody species removal, and suggest considerations to help managers make decisions regarding woody species removal.
Employment data for women living on farms/ranches in six Wyoming counties were gathered in 1985 and 1986 as part of a farm/ranch households survey. This paper focuses on female employment and its contribution to the economic viability of farm operations, by considering the importance of women's as well as men's employment in maintaining the economic viability of farming/ranching operations during a farm crisis and a wage boom. Although an equal percentage of females and males work off-farm, the data show gender-defined patterns. While size of farm operation was a major predictor of the likelihood of engaging in off-farm employment for men, age and education level proved important predictors of women's employment off the farm. Both men and women recognized that the need for off-farm income conflicted with the perceived negative consequences for the farming operation as a result of off-farm work, but comments on the questionnaire suggest that husbands were more comfortable having their wives get a job than taking one themselves.
Corn production in the United States provides an example of the agricultural changes that have occurred in recent times. Because all such agricultural activity potentially can affect the environment to some degree, the challenge is now to quantify and understand those effects. Although monitoring of the environment for such effects is not new, the procedures often fall short of providing reliable quantitative data. One example is the inconsistent, incomplete, and unreliable information currently available to assess US surface water quality and trends in that quality. The utilization of probability-based sampling designs could play a vital role in the improvement of information on the interface between agricultural activity and environmental quality.
Several counties of south-central and southeast Kansas experienced floods in the first week of November 1998. The communities of Arkansas City and Augusta were among those most severely affected by these floods. This study is based primarily on a mail questionnaire survey of residents of these two communities, and it examines respondents' satisfaction with four emergency response measures employed by local officials and emergency management agencies before and during the flood event. The extent of external support victims received and the level of their satisfaction with that support were also investigated. The analysis of the survey data shows that the emergency response efforts and the support victims received were rated poorly. Furthermore, the satisfaction scores differed significantly between respondents from Arkansas City and those from Augusta. The findings suggest that the extent of damage and preparedness are directly associated with victims' satisfaction with emergency measures undertaken by emergency management agencies. The study further suggests that the respondents of Arkansas City were relatively more satisfied with emergency measures than their counterparts in Augusta. Unlike in Arkansas City, city officials in Augusta had little time to prepare for the flooding. Hazard preparedness appears to be an important determinant of victims' satisfaction with emergency measures.
Reisner (1986) coined the term "Cadillac Desert" to describe the high costs associated with irrigated agriculture in the American west. This concept can logically be extended to the northern-most reaches of the Great Plains in Canada to perform a critical analysis of irrigated agriculture in southern Alberta. Today irrigation technology, which arrived with the Mormon immigration of the 1880s, keeps over a million acres of former shortgrass prairie green. Costs of one of the world's largest snow melt irrigation systems are examined on several dimensions: the massive infusion of state funds necessary to build and maintain the system, environmental degradation in the form of salinization, expansion of low or no food value crops, and intensification of the domination of the farmer-to-consumer chain by transnational corporations. Possible water regimes under global warming conditions are discussed, along with the implications of Free Trade.
The High Plains of North America extends from Canada to northern Mexico. This grassland region is subject to prolonged drought, herbivory, and wildfire. Organisms that are indigenous to the High Plains are adapted to these environmental factors. Periodic droughts occur at inexact, but few year, intervals. The grazing by free ranging bison, the indigenous large herbivore, has been replaced by grazing of fenced domestic stock. Fire regimes throughout human occupation of the region have been greatly influenced by human activities. Cultivation of wheat and corn also is carried out in the region. Predicted climate changes in this region are increased temperature and reduced effective precipitation. Paleontological records document past climate changes from which certain predictions may be made about the effects of current models of Global Change. Ecological studies at the ecosystem, community, species, and population levels are defensible. Land use modifications should be undertaken immediately to minimize deleterious effects of Global Warming.
This article reports partial findings from a five-year study that examined the attitudes, perceptions, and expectations regarding higher education among a sample of American Indian students attending a predominantly non-Indian university. Most notably, this article examines some of the factors associated with two specific personal assessments of the college experience: (1) the impact of college upon their appreciation of Native American heritage and (2) the level of satisfaction with the college experience.
The federally endangered American burying beetle, Nicrophorus americanus Olivier, currently occurs in Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Texas. Surveys in Nebraska for carrion beetles between 2001 and 2010 resulted in 11 new county records for this endangered species and 465 new county records for 14 other silphid species. Over 5,000 American burying beetles (ABB) were captured in over 1,500 different locations in either the eastern Sandhills region or the south-central Loess Canyons. Using mark-recapture data from 2003, 2009, and 2010 surveys, we estimated the ABB population size ( S.D.) for six counties in the Sandhills. Data were grouped by June or August activity periods to account for the presence of only mature adults that overwintered (June) or mostly teneral adults preparing to overwinter (August). Blaine County (2003) had the largest August population estimated at 1,338 272 ABB in a 24 km2 area. In June 2010, Cherry County was estimated to have 498 124 ABB in a southeastern survey area and 374 65 ABB in a northeastern survey area. All other counties had estimates between 99 62 ABB and 451 97 ABB. We calculated movement distances using recapture data with some ABB moving as far as 7.24 km in a single night. This new information contributes to American burying beetle conservation efforts in the Great Plains and provides knowledge about other silphid species distributions, which may play a role in American burying beetle recovery.
How do women from patriarchal cultures adapt to gender equality and feminism in the Great Plains? How do women from Eastern Europe change as a result of living in a gender-neutral environment? The study (1) identifies the major cultural differences that Eastern European women perceive between gender-related norms in Eastern Europe and the American Midwest, (2) examines the strategies that women use to cope with these differences, and (3) investigates when encounters with American feminists help and when they hinder immigrants' adaptation. Eastern European culture is characterized by a greater separation of gender roles and little concern about sexism. Women from this region perceive male and female behavior in American culture as ambiguous and gender-neutral. They observe egalitarian gender relations in the US, but do not prefer the forms of male-female interaction that this involves. They adapt to US culture behaviorally but do not significantly change their values about gender relations. The negative attitude of feminist activists toward gender roles in Eastern Europe often creates resistance toward American ways and slows immigrants' adaptation.
Much of the research on Mexican Americans and earnings has focused on either national samples or on states such as California and Texas. Even though Mexican Americans have become more visible in the Midwest, we know very little about their earnings in the Midwest. Using an individual level sample consisting of data on 1,807 Mexican Americans from the 2000 Integrated 1% Public Use Microdata Series, we examine the extent to which human capital, family status and industry concentration predict earnings. Multivariate analyses reveal that education and years in the U.S. are positively associated with earnings. However, Mexican American women yield lower returns to their education compared to their male counterparts. Women also experience an earnings penalty for having children while men do not. In addition, workers concentrated in the peripheral sector earn significantly less than workers in the core sector. The findings are interpreted in terms of human capital and labor market theories and directions for future research are discussed.
Western harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis, are seed eaters that occur in short- and mid-grass prairies. Harvester ants are efficient seed predators but they may also be seed dispersers. We examined what ants collect to address that question. We also studied how different cattle grazing intensities affected harvester ant nest densities. Items collected by western harvester ant foragers returning to their nests were categorized as non-seeds, seeds, and nothing. Harvester ants collected large amounts of non-seeds (48%), followed by seeds (33%) and nothing (19%). Western harvester ants tolerate some environmental stress caused by grazing because nest densities were highest in moderately grazed grasslands. Interestingly, other aboveground arthropods in Colorado grasslands are reported to decrease in response to grazing, especially moderate to heavy grazing regimes. Harvester ants prefer to collect seeds but do not collect them exclusively.