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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biology and Microbiology

First Advisor

Diane Rickerl


The purpose of this study was to contribute to the knowledge of community dynamics and the planning of restoration projects for degraded native prairie rangeland on Standing Rock Indian Reservation by utilizing the seeds stored naturally in the soil seed bank. The objectives of this study were: 1) to determine if the composition of the soil seed bank in native prairie rangeland grazed historically by bison differs from the composition of the soil seed bank in native prairie rangeland grazed historically by cattle, or not-grazed; and, 2) to determine if topographical position has an effect on the composition of the soil seed bank. This was a descriptive study and for each treatment, three locations within three grazing systems were chosen from which to collect soil samples. Fifty percent of the samples at each location were taken on the flat soil surface and fifty percent were taken from a slight depression. With three treatments, three locations, and eight soil samples from each location, a total of seventy-two (72) soil samples were collected for this study. The soil samples were air-dried, sieved and sieved again under water pressure. After the samples were air dried, seeds were extracted from the soil sample, by hand, using a forceps and a 10 power dissecting microscope. The apparently viable seeds wereidentified, quantified and recorded per sample. Included in the data sheet were growth characteristics for each species identified. A Tukey’s Studentized Range analysis was used to separate means and a nested ANOVA was performed for each variable to determine differences in species composition. Data were analyzed to determine the impact of grazing treatment and topography on: 1) seed count; 2) species frequency; 3) species richness; 4) differences in the ratio of monocotyledonous species to dicotyledonous species; and 5) the ratio of native species to non-native species found per treatment. In this study, minor changes in topography did not have a significant impact on soil seed bank composition. However, the results of this study confirm that grazing had a positive influence on the soil seed bank numbers for: total seed count, species richness, the number of dicots species found, and the number of native species found. The number of seeds from noxious weeds was very low in all grazing treatments. This study will be useful to practitioners in their efforts to restore prairies by utilizing the soil seed bank.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Soil seed banks -- Standing Rock Indian Reservation (N.D. and S.D.)
Prairie restoration.
Land use -- Environmental aspects -- Standing Rock Indian Reservation (N.D. and S.D.)
Rangelands -- Standing Rock Indian Reservation (N.D. and S.D.)


Includes bibliographical references (pages 53-55)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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