Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Gordon C. Tucker


Rock Springs Environmental Center was acquired in 1969 by the Macon County Conservation District. Several tracts totaling 1.6 hectares were developed as prairie restorations of varying ages on former farmland starting in 1977. During the summers of 1999 to 2001, 123 species were collected at Rock Springs. Of these, 56 species were collected within the sampling transects. The largest number of species (36 out of 56) was collected in the 1983 tract. The highest importance value of all tracts for any species was 42.6 for Andropogon gerardii. Sorensen's Index of Similarity between tracts ranged from 53.97- 72.97. The coefficient of conservatism for individual tracts ranged from 3.42-4.56 and the Floristic Quality Index from 18.6-25.8. Analyses of invasive species demonstrated that Coronilla varia L. had a significant negative impact on species richness and diversity. The purpose of this study was to assess the quality and success of prairie restorations at Rock Springs. According to Sorensen's Index of Similarity and cluster diagrams, the tracts are blending together. In addition, based on the Floristic Quality Index, the quality of the flora in prairie restorations increases with tract age. Floristic quality ranges from poor to intermediate quality, but over time these tracts have the potential to become high quality areas.