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Document Type

Research

Keywords

historical changes, Iowa, mammals, biogeography, geographic regions

Abstract

This review of Iowa's mammal fauna at the close of the 20th century summarizes changes in distributional patterns following Euroamerican settlement in the early 1800s. Data from historical records, museum specimens, and presettlement late Holocene fossils indicate presence of 69 resident mammals at that time. Hunting pressures and the conversion of prairie and forest to agricultural fields reduced the populations and ranges of many state mammals, and 14 species were extirpated by 1900. An additional 15 species are either uncommon or rare today, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources lists four species as endangered, three as threatened and one as of special concern. Species dependent upon either forest or prairie have suffered most; forest-edge species generally have thrived and even increased. River otters and a captive bison herd were reintroduced recently, and several (like the spotted skunk and the bobcat) have benefited from setaside acreage, flood-plain and wetland reclamation, and roadside management initiatives. Species distribution and relative abundance vary slightly among the state's five geographic regions.

Publication Date

September 1998

Journal Title

Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science

Volume

105

Issue

3

First Page

123

Last Page

132

Copyright

© Copyright 1998 by the Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.

Language

EN

File Format

application/pdf