Date of Award
Master of Science
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Perhaps no state in the Union has suffered such widespread degradation of its natural vegetation as Iowa. Tallgrass prairie (including wet prairie communities, often considered to be wetlands) once covered at least 85% of this state's land area, but more than 99.9% of Iowa's original grasslands have fallen victim to the plow (Smith 1990). Wetlands once covered 11.1% of Iowa's landscape (Dahl 1990), but virtually all of these have been drained to make way for rowcrops (wetlands now cover only 1.2% of Iowa's landscape). Roughly 12 to 20% of the state was covered by forest at the time of settlement by Europeans, but only 6% of the state is forest today (van der Linden and Farrar 1993, Leatherberry et al. 1992, Thomson and Hertel 1981). Furthermore, the majority of the forest fragments that do remain in Iowa are isolated and significantly altered by past grazing and/or logging practices.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu
William Russell Norris
Norris, William Russell, "A natural area inventory of Ames, Iowa " (1995). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 313.
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