Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Natural Resource Ecology and Management

First Advisor

Lisa A. Schulte Moore


Tallgrass prairie is considered one of the most endangered ecosystems on the North American continent. Land-use change since Euro-American settlement has drastically altered the form and function of prairie systems. These land-use changes have been manifested through declining populations of grassland obligates and loss of ecosystem services. Planning and application of restoration activities substantiates the need for the evaluation and moni-toring of ecosystems. The U.S.-wide ecosystem assessment project LANDFIRE contains a suite of spatial data projects aimed at the standardized evaluation and monitoring of ecosys-tems. My thesis assesses the accuracy of Fire Regime Condition Classification--one of the spatial data layers within LANDFIRE and makes recommendations for improvements when applied locally. Separate from the evaluation of LANDFIRE, land cover data was used to assess the current spatial pattern of grassland vegetation in the Loess Hills and evaluate a conservation priority index, which I developed to spatially prioritize potential conservation sites within the Loess Hills. This work summarizes the current state of conservation in the Loess Hills and urges that a landscape perspective be adopted when targeting ecosystems for the application of conservation resources.


Copyright Owner

Dustin Alan Farnsworth



Date Available


File Format


File Size

123 pages