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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Effects of Prairie Dogs on Mound Soils1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 51 No. 2, p. 389-393
    Received: Mar 3, 1986

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  1. D. C. Carlson and
  2. E. M. White2



Soil morphological and chemical changes across prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) mounds in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, were studied to determine the long-term effects of pedoturbation. Older mound soils have colors similar to the original subsoil, higher mean pH values, smaller mean N contents, and P contents that are equal to or greater than the adjacent nonmound soils (Typic Argiborolls or Torriorthentic Haplustolls). Carbonates that moved upward in mound construction were leached and redeposited as secondary carbonates on ped faces in the mound subsoil. The premound forested soil (Eutroboralfs) at Mound 1 has been partially destroyed by mixing, and the P content of the E horizon has been increased by additions of subsoil and prairie dog excreta and carcasses. Soil P in the central part of Mound 2 has increased about 200 mg kg−1 from prairie dog activity. Mound 2 may be 7,000 yr old and Mound 1 is at least 400 yr old. Although pedoturbation is important in soil genesis, the effect of prairie dogs is mostly restricted to the mound area, which may be in use for hundreds or thousands of years.

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