The different types of range with their characteristic animals were particularly significant to the early stock- men. The choice spots became crop- land or hay and pasture lands. Most of the remainder was used as open grazing lands.
In a few areas—only a few—the degree of use of the land has been consistent with its capacity; there the range is still in almost its original state and wild and domestic animals live in relative harmony. Under heavy grazing or burning, the highest types of grasses disappear, and other plant species invade the range.
When use of the vegetation is heavy and continues long enough, only annual grasses and weeds persist. Such a condition undoubtedly brought about the reduction of the number of greater prairie chicken.
Damage to the desir- able grasses and streamside vegetation adversely affect the sharptailed grouse, beaver, wild turkey, and white-tailed deer, but favor the increase of the ground squirrel, jack rabbits, and some other rodents.
Continued damage to this vegetation encourages shrubs; pricklypear, sage- brush, shadscale, yucca, and mesquite commonly come in. Such changes also result in increases in the number of prairie dogs, ground squirrels, and jack rabbits.