Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Plant Science

First Advisor

Gary D. Lemme


Silvicultural management applied by the United States Forest Service (USFS) utilizes a system of intermediate thinning cuts rather than clearcutting. This practice results in a rich understory of vegetation supporting significant wildlife populations. In 1980, 62,000 deer were estimated to be present within the Black Hills. The understory, in conjunction with the adjacent open parks and stream meadows, also supports another valuable resource the livestock industry. Over 29,000 cattle grazed nearly 486,000 hectares of Black Hills National Forest grazing allotments in 1980, totaling approximately 128,000 AUMs (animal unit months) seasonally. However, only 194,000 hectares of forest are classified as suitable for grazing. Thinning pine stands is expected to improve forage production on nearly one half of the grazable woodland. Across the Black Hill the understory forage value varies both qualitatively and quantitatively. As a result, differences in understory production and grazing potential within the forest are not well understood. In this study, the primary objectives were to: (1) Develop yield prediction models and equations for understory production on some Black Hills soils. (2) Characterize soils, understory vegetation, site, and forest indices. (3) Incorporate botanical information into yield models to predict grazing potential on chose soils studied. As a result of this study, more accurate site-specific grazing potential on forested soils can be predicted by land managers within the Black Hills. Soil mapping units from the Custer-Pennington Counties, Black Hills Parts Soil Survey can be used to estimate grazing potentials on those soils investigated. Grazing potentials on other similar soils included in this survey and other published soil surveys from surrounding counties can be extrapolated using those inputs found to be most important to predict yield. Woodland grazing information can be incorporated into soil interpretive tables included in the Custer-Pennington Counties, Black Hills Parts Soil Survey Report. Soil Conservation Service (SCS) Woodland Grazing Technical Guides for the Black Hills can also be adjusted to incorporate the results of this study.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Grazing -- South Dakota
Forest soils -- South Dakota
Soil productivity -- South Dakota
Soils -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State