Our Study Site

Our study area comprises 6400 ha (25 square miles) of rural western Minnesota, USA near the towns of Kensington and Hoffman (centered near 45º 49′ N, 95º 43′ W). Before European settlement in the 1870s, the entire area, except for lakes and wetlands, was potential Echinacea habitat. Echinacea and other prairie plants now persist in remnant populations on hillsides too steep for agricultural production, in fence corners inaccessible to farm machinery, along road and railroad rights-of-way, and on abandoned pastureland. The remnants that we study range in size from a roadside prairie of only several square meters to a 95 acre TNC preserve.