Upland Vegetation Inventory

Vegetation Transects 300 x 256

All across the northern great plains, select refuges came together to work on a study that would focus on management of native prairie, referred to as Native Prairie Adaptive Management (NPAM). The study is intended to help land managers better respond to threats of invasive species in our native ecosystems. 

 To enroll in the study each Refuge conducted an all-inclusive inventory of their uplands. The study is designed to focus on better management of native prairie, areas never been plowed, so determining a non-native or invasive vegetation component within the native prairie was essential. Data from the inventory was then entered into a computer model that not only analyzed percent of native versus non-native plants but accounts for prior management practices within the study plot areas. Based on the results of data entered, the computer model then makes a suggestion in management technique, such as resting, prescribed burning, grazing, or a combination of these techniques to be conducted the following year to better assist in reducing the percentage of non-natives within the study plot area. The entire process is then repeated each year and another management technique is suggested. 

With multiple Refuges working together a diversity of data is collected across multiple states. Study plots that encompass all types of native prairie and several geographical regions aid in better understanding which techniques work best in converting grasslands dominated by non-native vegetation to ones dominated by native vegetation.  

 Bowdoin NWR started its vegetation inventory in 2011, and enrolled 2 study plots in 2012. By participating in this study, native prairie of northern Montana would be represented in the study, helping fill-in missing information needed to better manage and protect our native prairies. Current Refuges enrolled within the study range from Montana to Minnesota.