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Classification
Scientific Name: Northwestern Great Plains Shrubland
Unique Identifier: CES303.662
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This ecological system ranges from South Dakota into southern Canada on moderately shallow to deep, fine to sandy loam soils. These sites are typically more mesic than most of the surrounding area. This system may be located along upper terraces of rivers and streams, gently inclined slopes near breaklands, and upland sandy loam areas throughout its range. This system is dominated by shrub species such as Amelanchier alnifolia, Rhus trilobata, Symphoricarpos spp., Shepherdia argentea, Crataegus douglasii, Elaeagnus commutata, Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda, and dwarf-shrubs such as Juniperus horizontalis. Midgrasses such as Festuca spp., Koeleria macrantha, and Pseudoroegneria spicata and species such as Carex filifolia can co-occur. This system differs from Northwestern Great Plains Mixedgrass Prairie (CES303.674) in that it contains greater than 10% cover in conjunction with topographic relief (breaks) of natural shrub species. Fire and grazing constitute the primary dynamics affecting this system; drought can also impact this system. This system may include areas of Northwestern Great Plains Mixedgrass Prairie (CES303.674) where fire suppression has allowed for a greater cover of shrub species. This system is similar to Northern Rocky Mountain Montane-Foothill Deciduous Shrubland (CES306.994) but occurs in the grassland matrix of the Great Plains, whereas the Rocky Mountain system occurs adjacent to the lower treeline of generally forested mountains and highlands. Floristically their shrub composition is similar, but associated grasses and forbs will differ somewhat given their respective adjacent vegetation types.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: This may not be a separate system from the prairie matrix. Those areas that have increased shrub cover due to fire suppression should be considered part of Northwestern Great Plains Mixedgrass Prairie (CES303.674). More information from Canada is probably needed to fully define this system.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES303.664 Southwestern Great Plains Canyon
CES303.674 Northwestern Great Plains Mixedgrass Prairie
CES306.994 Northern Rocky Mountain Montane-Foothill Deciduous Shrubland


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL001065 Amelanchier alnifolia / Pseudoroegneria spicata - Bunchgrass Shrubland
CEGL001099 Elaeagnus commutata / Pascopyrum smithii Wet Shrubland
CEGL001120 Rhus trilobata / Pseudoroegneria spicata Shrub Grassland
CEGL001359 Sarcobatus vermiculatus / Artemisia tridentata Wet Shrubland
CEGL001394 Juniperus horizontalis / Schizachyrium scoparium Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL001457 Rhus trilobata / Calamovilfa longifolia Shrub Grassland
CEGL001502 Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda / Festuca idahoensis Shrub Grassland
CEGL001503 Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda / Festuca campestris Shrub Grassland
CEGL001504 Rhus trilobata / Carex filifolia Shrub Grassland
CEGL001505 Rhus trilobata / Festuca idahoensis Shrub Grassland
CEGL001506 Rhus trilobata / Schizachyrium scoparium Shrub Grassland
CEGL002183 Amelanchier alnifolia Shrubland
CEGL002198 Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda / Schizachyrium scoparium Shrub Grassland



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Shrubland
Spatial Pattern: Large patch
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: Yes
Wetland: No
Isolated Wetland: No

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Shrubland (Shrub-dominated)  
Temperate Temperate Continental
Ustic  
G-Patch/Medium Intensity  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Centrocercus urophasianus
  (Greater Sage-Grouse)
G3G4  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Crataegus douglasii G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Elaeagnus commutata G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Shepherdia argentea G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Symphoricarpos occidentalis G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda T5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Juniperus horizontalis G5 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Potentilla plattensis G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Carex filifolia G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Hesperostipa comata ssp. comata T5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Koeleria macrantha G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Pseudoroegneria spicata G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Schizachyrium scoparium G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Ammodramus bairdii
  (Baird's Sparrow)
G4      
Ammodramus savannarum
  (Grasshopper Sparrow)
G5      
Athene cunicularia
  (Burrowing Owl)
G4      
Centrocercus urophasianus
  (Greater Sage-Grouse)
G3G4      
Crotalus viridis
  (Prairie Rattlesnake)
G5      
Cynomys ludovicianus
  (Black-tailed Prairie Dog)
G4      
Heterodon nasicus
  (Plains Hog-nosed Snake)
G5      
Peromyscus maniculatus
  (North American Deermouse)
G5      
Pituophis catenifer
  (Gophersnake)
G5      
Spea bombifrons
  (Plains Spadefoot)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: MT, ND, SD, WYpotentially occurs
Nation: Canada
Canadian Province Distribution: ABpotentially occurs, MB, SK
Global Range: This system extends from South Dakota into southern Canada, west into the foothills of north-central Montana. The U.S. range corresponds to Bailey et al. (1994) sections Northeast Glaciated Plains (332A), Western Glaciated Plains (332B), North Central Glaciated Plains - extreme western part (251B), and in Canada to the Moist Mixed Grassland and Fescue Grassland.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
303-Western Great Plains C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
26 Northern Great Plains Steppe Confident or certain
34 Dakota Mixed-Grass Prairie Confident or certain
66 Aspen Parkland Predicted or probable
67 Fescue-Mixed Grass Prairie Predicted or probable

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
20 Missouri River Plateau Confident or certain
22 Wyoming Basin Never was there
29 Wyoming Highlands Confident or certain
30 Northwestern Great Plains Confident or certain
31 Sandhills Confident or certain
39 Prairie Coteau Lands Confident or certain
40 Northern Great Plains Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 5262
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1085
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2085

West Landfire Legend: Yes
East Landfire Legend: Yes

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 26Jan2007
Element Description Author(s): S. Menard, K. Kindscher, G. Kittel and M.S. Reid

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).


References
  • AOU [American Ornithologists' Union]. 1983. Check-list of North American Birds, sixth edition. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, KS. 877 pp.

  • Arnold, T. W., and K. F. Higgins. 1986. Effects of shrub coverage on birds of North America mixed-grass prairies. Canadian Field-Naturalist 100:10-14.

  • Bailey, R. G., P. E. Avers, T. King, and W. H. McNab, editors. 1994. Ecoregions and subregions of the United States (map). U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, DC. Scale 1:7,500,000 colored. Accompanied by a supplementary table of map unit descriptions compiled and edited by W. H. McNab and R. G. Bailey. Prepared for the USDA Forest Service.

  • Bent, A. C., et al. 1968. Life histories of North American cardinals, grosbeaks, buntings, towhees, finches, sparrows, and allies. Part Two. U.S. National Museum Bulletin 237. (reprinted by Dover Publications, Inc., New York, NY).

  • Blankespoor, G. W. 1980. Prairie restoration: Effects on nongame birds. Journal of Wildlife Management 44:667-672.

  • Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, K. Snow, J. Teague, and R. White. 2003-present. Ecological systems of the United States: A working classification of U.S. terrestrial systems. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

  • Kahl, R. B., T. S. Baskett, J. A. Ellis, and J. N. Burroughs. 1985. Charactersitics of summer habitats of selected nongame birds in Missouri. Univeristy of Missouri-Columbia College of Agriculture, Agricultural Experiment Station, Research Bulletin 1056:58-60.

  • Shiflet, T. N., editor. 1994. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Society for Range Management. Denver, CO. 152 pp.

  • Smith, R. L. 1963. Some ecological notes on the grasshopper sparrow. The Wilson Bulletin 75:159-65.

  • Vickery, P. D. 1996. Grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum). No. 239 in: A. Poole and F. Gill, editors. The birds of North America. The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, DC. 20 pp.

  • Wiens, J. A. 1969. An approach to the study of ecological relationships among grassland birds. Ornithological Monographs No. 8:1-93.


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