Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Botany and Plant Pathology


Prairie vegetation in presettlement Iowa covered more than 80 percent of the land area (Moyer, 1953). With the arrival of white settlers, the rich prairie sod fell victim to the plow in almost direct proportion to the speed of the westward migration. A few prairie areas escaped plowing by virtue of being too wet for crops, inaccessible due to topography or an Inconvenience. One early investigator (Shimek, 1925) of prairie vegetation in Iowa wrote, "Comparatively little of the native prairie remains in Iowa. A few unbroken tracts are still scattered about over the state, ... but even these have been more or less disturbed by pasturing and cutting." Even under the strength of this early indictment the philosophy of the plow has not changed, and in recent years it has gained an ally operating as a public transportation facility. Shimek (1925) also observed this new threat commenting, "Much of this native flora was also formerly preserved along the public highways, but this is rapidly dissappearing with the widening of the driveways on the primary roads and the enforcement of the unwise undiscriminating weed-laws of the state along secondary roads. In 1933 an uneasy compromise was reached with the publication of the Iowa State Conservation Commission's Twenty-five Year Plan. This set of guidelines has resulted in the acquisition by the state of four prairie preserves: Hayden Prairie, in 1945; Kalsow Prairie, in 1948; Cayler Prairie, in 1960; and Sheeder Prairie, in 1961. It is this most recent acquisition, Sheeder Prairie, which is the subject of this investigation.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Robert Kenneth Kennedy



File Format


File Size

76 pages