We examined the difference in diversity between prairie and forested habitats. Natural prairies have been in a steady decline since Europeans settled North America. Along with losing its wonderful aesthetic beauty, we are losing the plants and animals unique to prairies. This study shows that prairies actually have higher small mammal diversity than forests. As woody vegetation increases, species richness decreases.
Prairie grasslands have historically been abundant across much of the United States. Due to many factors, native prairie has drastically declined (Samson and Knopf, 1994). Prairie is being replaced by forest and cropland. By losing natural prairies, we are losing some of the unique animals and biodiversity that exist there (Matlack et al., 2008). This study looks at the small mammal diversity and numbers in a forested area and prairie grassland. I originally thought forests would have more diversity, but after a little research I found that prairie tend to have higher small mammal diversity (Matlack et al., 2008). I would predict this to be the same for our two study sites.