Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
|47a. Loess Prairies||Level IV Ecoregion|
|Home||The high agricultural productivity
of the Western Corn Belt Plains ecoregion is due to its fertile soil,
temperate climate, and adequate precipitation during the growing season.
This ecoregion has a relatively homogeneous topography of level to gently
rolling glacial till plains with areas of morainal hills and loess deposits.
The original tallgrass prairie vegetation has been converted to intensive
rowcrop agriculture of corn, soybeans, and feed grains to support livestock
The Loess Prairies of Iowa and South Dakota surround the perimeter of the Des Moines lobe of the Late Wisconsinan glaciation. Of the two areas in South Dakota, the northern one is distinguished from neighboring regions by its rock-free soil and a paucity of wetlands. The southern area is more highly dissected, with deciduous woodland and brush on the steeper slopes and in the draws.
Area (square miles): 1104
Surficial Material and Bedrock
Order (Great Groups)
Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)
Potential Natural Vegetation
Tallgrass prairie: big and little bluestem, indiangrass, green needlegrass. In southern section on steeper slopes needleandthread and prairie dropseed, and deciduous woodland.
Land Use and Land Cover
Intensive row crop agriculture (corn, soybeans, alfalfa, grain sorghum). Some terracing. Some urban development. Deciduous woodland in the southern section.