Lauren Connell (150x122)(Laramie) – Ranchers know prairie dogs can reduce rangeland forage by as much as half, but research by a University of Wyoming master’s student indicates prairie dogs may significantly increase the quality of the forage that regrows.

Lauren Connell says her research shows forage quality at prairie dog colonies is significantly higher even in late summer when it declines considerably away from prairie dog areas.

She says the next step in her research is to determine the difference between forage quality and quantity and how the tradeoff affects how many cattle can be put out.

Connell adds finding ways for cattle and prairie dogs to co-exist is critical.