Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Kay L. Linder


Vegetation, birds and mammals were sampled over two years in two types of green ash woodlands in extreme northwestern South Dakota. Woodlands referred to as closed canopy stands consisted of dense stands of various species of trees and shrubs in different size and age classes. Woodlands referred to as open canopy stands had sparse stands of older trees, with intermediate seedling, sapling and tall shrub layers nearly absent. Closed stands had significantly greater (P = .002) coverage of shrubs in the understory than open stands while open stands had significantly greater (P = .004) total coverage of grasses than closed stands. Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) was the dominant tree and western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis) was the most common shrub in both stand types. Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) cover was much higher in the closed stands than the open stands while cover of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) was greater in the open stands than the closed stands. Nearly twice as many birds were observed on line transects in the closed stands as in open stands. Rufous-sided towhees (Pipilo erythrophthalmus), field sparrows (Spizella pusilla), black-capped chickadees (Parus atricapillus), American goldfinches (Carduelis tristis), and orange-crowned warblers (Vermivora celata) were found in significantly higher numbers (P 5 .10) in closed stands than in open stands during both 1983 and 1984. A significantly greater number (P < .10) of western meadowlarks were found in open stands than closed stands. Bird species composition was 84% similar between open and closed stands and Spearman's rank order was significant (P = .001) with a correlation coefficient of r = .7, indicating little difference in species ranking between stand types. Total numbers of small mammals captured were similar in 1983 in both stand types while there were significantly (P = .05) more mammals captured in closed stands than in open stands during 1984. Voles (Microtus spp.) were the most common mammals captured in both stand types. Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) were captured in significantly greater numbers (P .05) in closed stands than open stands during both years. Tracking stations were used to sample intermediate-sized mammals. Cottontails (Sylvilagus spp.) were the only species found in significantly higher (P=.006) numbers in closed stands than open stands; jackrabbits (Lepus spp.) were more abundant (P = .03) in open stands than in closed stands. Tracking stations and pellet surveys indicated closed canopy stands were more important than open canopy stands for deer (Odoccileus spp.) during fawning and in the winter.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ash (Plants) -- South Dakota.
Green ash -- South Dakota.
Forest birds – South Dakota
Forest ecology – South Dakota
Forest animals – South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (pages 52-60)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Only