This study examined insect diversity in two native grassland ecosystems undergoing burning and grazing by bison and cattle, the Niobrara Valley Preserve (Nebraska) and the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve (Oklahoma). Sweep-sampling for insects was conducted during July 1994 and 1995 along transects in management units that were grazed by bison and partially burned, grazed by cattle and either burned (Tallgrass) or unburned (Niobrara), or ungrazed and unburned. At both sites, species richness (S) and diversity (log series α) were higher and similarity (Sorensen’s index) lower for bison than for cattle or ungrazed management units. High bison management unit diversity was associated with significantly higher S and α in burned (Tallgrass) and unburned (Niobrara) portions of bison units compared with their respective cattle units, suggesting that habitat heterogeneity in terms of plant productivity, composition, and structure were higher in bison versus cattle and ungrazed management units. Replicated factorial experiments and sampling of additional taxa and time points are needed to verify how fire and grazing management impacts insect diversity in these grasslands.
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