Environmental Management

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 165–170 | Cite as

Simulated grazing responses on the proposed prairies National Park

  • William J. Parton
  • R. Gerald Wright
  • Paul G. Risser


The tallgrass prairie version of the ELM Grassland Model was used to evaluate the potential impact of establishing a tallgrass prairie National Park in the Flint Hills region of Kansas. This total ecosystem model simulates (a) the flow of water, heat, nitrogen, and phosphorus through the ecosystem and(b) the biomass dynamics of plants and consumers. It was specifically developed to study the effects of levels and types of herbivory, climatic variation, and fertilization upon grassland ecosystems. The model was used to simulate the impact of building up herds of bison, elk, antelope, and wolves on a tallgrass prairie. The results show that the grazing levels in the park should not be decreased below the prepark grazing levels (moderate grazing with cattle) and that the final grazing levels in the park could be maintained at a slightly higher level than the prepark grazing levels.

Key words

ELM simulation model grazing effects Introduced animals Tallgrass prairie U.S. National Park service 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • William J. Parton
    • 1
  • R. Gerald Wright
    • 2
  • Paul G. Risser
    • 3
  1. 1.Natural Resource Ecology LaboratoryColorado State UniversityFort Collins
  2. 2.U.S. Department of InteriorNational Park ServiceAnchorage
  3. 3.Department of BotanyUniversity of OklahomaNorman

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