Multiscale habitat selection of lesser prairie-chickens in a row-crop and conservation reserve program land matrix

Samuel W.H. Harryman, Blake A. Grisham, Clint W. Boal, Samantha S. Kahl, Russell L. Martin, Christian A. Hagen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The lesser prairie-chicken Tympanuchus pallidicinctus has received considerable attention in recent years, as a result of population decline and the uncertainty of its status under the 1973 U.S. Endangered Species Act. Substantial effort has been exerted studying the life history of the species and effects of some management practices on its ecology. However, information is lacking regarding lesser prairie-chicken use and selection of Conservation Reserve Program fields in the Southern High Plains of Texas. To fill in this knowledge gap, we assessed habitat selection by lesser prairie-chickens within Conservation Reserve Program fields, native grassland, and row-crop agriculture in Texas, 2015-2017. We assessed habitat selection using a Type II design at the second order of selection (home range placement within the landscape) and a Type III design at the third order (Global Positioning System locations within the home range). At the second order of selection, lesser prairie-chickens selected Conservation Reserve Program fields seeded in nonnative grasses (wi ¼ 3.99, 95% CI ¼ 1.60-6.39) and native grasses and forbs (wi ¼ 3.25, 95% CI ¼ 1.99-4.52) year-round. Row-crop agriculture (wi ¼ 0.17, 95% CI ¼ 0.06-0.28) and native grassland (wi ¼ 0.30, 95% CI ¼ 0.06-0.55) were avoided. Native grass Conservation Reserve Program fields were used in proportion to their availability (wi ¼ 1.33, 95% CI ¼ 0.81-1.85) year-round. Only Conservation Reserve Program fields seeded in native grasses and forbs were selected at the third order of selection (wi ¼ 1.32, 95% CI ¼ 1.16-1.47). Based on our results, Conservation Reserve Program fields provide habitat for lesser prairie-chickens, and as such, may be beneficial to persistence of the species on the High Plains of Texas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-136
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Fish and Wildlife Management
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Conservation Reserve Program
  • Habitat selection
  • Lesser prairie-chicken
  • Texas
  • Tympanuchus pallidicinctus

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