Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Biological Sciences

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Floristic and soil data from 50 relicts and other sources were analyzed using polar ordination of species presence. Historical and early scientific accounts were interpreted from the results.

The relicts ranged from wet to dry, on either sandy or loamy soil. Alkaline lakeplain sites added a third dimension of variability. Most upland remnants were interpreted as fragments of former savanna.

Floristic composition and distribution of the remnants were determined by these factors:

1. Edaphic: away from the Prairie Peninsula, only very dry or very wet sites support prairie vegetation;

2. Phytogeographic: the farther from the Prairie Peninsula, the fewer characteristics prairie species available;

3. Temporal: most upland prairie fluctuated between grassland and savanna (even forest), causing addition of forest species and loss of prairie species from the local flora;

4. Anthropopyric: Indian-set fires aided by level topography maintained an estimated 480,000 acres of oak savanna.