Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Geluso


The Sandhills Region of Nebraska is located in the central and northern portion of Nebraska. Within this region is the Bessey Division of the Nebraska National Forest. The Bessey Division encompasses 36,560 ha of which approximately 8,900 ha are forested; all forested lands are man-planted. Forest types include monocultures of three species; ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), jack pine (Pinus banksiana), and Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana). This represents the largest man-made Forest in the National Forest System of the United States. The remaining 27,660 ha are of native grasses. Also a narrow strip of riparian habitat runs along the northern and southern boundaries of the Bessey Division. The primary objective of my study was to determine what influence this man-made forest has had on the native mammals (43 species) inhabiting the Sandhills Region. Results indicate that 32.6% of mammalian species on the Bessey Division have been inhibited in their distribution or have decreased in relative numbers; 39.5% of mammalian species have expanded their range or increased in relative numbers as a result of afforestation, and the remaining species were unaffected by the planting of a forest. Although there were some notable exceptions, grassland species were inhibited, woodland species expanded, and those species which are ecologically tide to water remained unaffected. Cedar plantations were found to have the greatest abundance of small mammals, higher than the other plantations or the native habitats, and the species diversity was similar to the native habitats.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Biology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1983 Richard W. Manning.