Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Craig A. Faanes
Photo: (Figure 1) A typical stringer draw on a 12% slope in Mercer County, North Dakota. Typical vegetation included Green Ash and American Elm. Photos by C.A. Faanes.
Upland native woodlands (wooded draws) represent unique vegetative communities of the prairie region owing to their patchy distribution and islandlike character (Fig. 1). Noble et al. (1980) reported that wooded draws occupied about 3-4% of the northern Great Plains. Stewart (1975) listed 38 breeding bird species characteristic of the western North Dakota Badlands community complex. Among these, about 58% were associated with wooded habitats. Faanes (1982) reported that the third highest mean density of breeding birds on a 83-km2 study area in central North Dakota occurred in wooded prairie thickets.
The wooded draw community across much of the northern Great Plains has been altered extensively by land-use practices. In the area west of the Missouri River, energy development has resulted in new impacts on this community. Because of these impacts, descriptive classification systems will be useful in developing multiple-use plans for this community. There is also a need to determine avian use of the wooded draw community and to relate this to the importance of wooded ecosystems as wildlife habitat.
During the 1982 breeding season, I studied the use of wooded draws by breeding birds in a five-county region of western North Dakota. The objectives of this research were to: 1) determine avian use and diversity in wooded draws, 2) to relate the diversity of the avian community to the structure and complexity of wooded vegetation, and 3) to determine the influence of location and size of wooded draws on their value as habitat for birds. This report discusses the first objective.
Faanes, Craig A. 1984. Wooded islands in a sea of prairie - These isolated woodlands are important breeding habitat for northern prairie birds. American Birds 38(1):3-6.This resource should be cited as:
Faanes, Craig A. 1984. Wooded islands in a sea of prairie - These isolated woodlands are important breeding habitat for northern prairie birds. American Birds 38(1):3-6. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/habitat/woodisl/index.htm (Version 02JAN98).