Effects of the Conservation Reserve Program on northern bobwhite and grassland birds
- 263 Downloads
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has converted just over 36 million acres of cropland into potential wildlife habitat, primarily grassland. Thus, the CRP should benefit grassland songbirds, a group of species that is declining across the United States and is of conservation concern. Additionally, the CRP is an important part of multi-agency, regional efforts to restore northern bobwhite populations. However, comprehensive assessments of the wildlife benefits of CRP at regional scales are lacking. We used Breeding Bird Survey and National Resources Inventory data to assess the potential for the CRP to benefit northern bobwhite and other grassland birds with overlapping ranges and similar habitat associations. We built regression models for 15 species in seven different ecological regions. Forty-nine of 108 total models contained significant CRP effects (P < 0.05), and 48 of the 49 contained positive effects. Responses to CRP varied across ecological regions. Only eastern meadowlark was positively-related to CRP in all the ecological regions, and western meadowlark was the only species never related to CRP. CRP was a strong predictor of bird abundance compared to other land cover types. The potential for CRP habitat as a regional conservation tool to benefit declining grassland bird populations should continue to be assessed at a variety of spatial scales. We caution that bird-CRP relations varied from region to region and among species. Because the NRI provides relatively coarse resolution information on CRP, more detailed information about CRP habitats (spatial arrangement, age of the habitat (time since planting), specific conservation practices used) should be included in future assessments to fully understand where and to what extent CRP can benefit grassland birds.
KeywordsAgriculture Breeding Bird Survey Conservation Reserve Program Grassland birds Landscape composition Natural Resources Inventory Northern bobwhite
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Best, L. B., Campa, H., III, Kemp, K. R., Robel, R. J., Ryan, M. R., Savidge, J. A., et al. (1997). Bird abundance and nesting in CRP fields and cropland in the Midwest: A regional approach. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 25, 864–877.Google Scholar
- Bock, C. E., Bock, J. H., & Bennett, B. C. (1996). Songbird abundance in grasslands at a suburban interface on the Colorado high plains. Studies in Avian Biology, 19, 131–136.Google Scholar
- Brady, S. J., & Flather, C. H. (1998a). Agricultural land use patterns and grassland nesting birds. Gibier Faune Sauvage, Game Wildlife, 15, 775–784.Google Scholar
- Brady, S. J., & Flather, C. H. (1998b). Range-wide patterns of northern bobwhite: Landuse patterns and population trends. Gibier Faune Sauvage, Game Wildlife, 15, 413–431.Google Scholar
- Brennan, L. A. (1991). How can we reverse the northern bobwhite population decline. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 19, 544–555.Google Scholar
- Brennan, L. A. (1999). Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus). In A. Poole & F. Gill (Eds.), The birds of North America, No. 117. Philadelphia: The Birds of North America.Google Scholar
- Burger, L. W., Jr. (2005). Wildlife responses to the Conservation Reserve Program in the Southeast. In J. B. Haufler (Ed.), Fish and wildlife benefits of farm bill conservation programs: 2000–2005 update (pp 63–92). The Wildlife Society, Technical Review 05-2.Google Scholar
- Burger, L. W., Jr., Kurzejeski, E. W., Dailey, T. V., & Ryan, M. R. (1990). Structural characteristics of vegetation on CRP fields in northern Missouri and their suitability as bobwhite habitat. Transactions of the North American Wildlife Resources Conference, 55, 74–83.Google Scholar
- Dimmick, R. W., Gudlin, M. J., & McKenzie, D. F. (2002). The northern bobwhite conservation initiative. Miscellaneous publication of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Columbia: South Carolina.Google Scholar
- Gutzwiller, K. J., & Barrow, W. C. (2008). Desert bird associations with broad-scale boundary length: Applications in avian conservation. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45, in press.Google Scholar
- Haufler, J. B. (Ed.) (2005). Fish and wildlife benefits of farm bill conservation programs: 2000–2005 update. The Wildlife Society, Technical Review 05-2.Google Scholar
- Herkert, J. R. (1998). The influence of the CRP on grasshopper sparrow population trends in the mid-continental United States. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 26, 227–231.Google Scholar
- Hohman, W. L., & Halloum, D. J. (Eds.) (2000). A comprehensive review of farm bill contributions to wildlife conservation 1985–2000. Technical Report, USDA/NRCS/WHMI-2000.Google Scholar
- Hosmer, D. W., & Lemeshow, S. (1989). Applied logistic regression. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Johnson, D. H., & Schwartz, M. D. (1993). The Conservation Reserve Program: Habitat for grassland birds. Great Plains Research, 3, 273–295.Google Scholar
- Littell, R. C., Milliken, G. A., Stroup, W. W., Wolfinger, R. D., & Schabenberger, O. (2006). SAS for mixed models. Cary, North Carolina: SAS Institute, Inc.Google Scholar
- Martin, J. W., & Parrish, J. R. (2000). Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus). In A. Poole & F. Gill (Eds.), The birds of North America, No. 117. Philadelphia: The Birds of North America.Google Scholar
- Mausbach, M. J., & Dedrick, A. R. (2004). The length we go: Measuring environmental benefits of conservation practices. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 59, 96A–103A.Google Scholar
- McCoy, T. D., Kurzejeski, E. W., Burger, L. W., Jr., & Ryan, M. R. (2001b). Effects of conservation practice, mowing, and temporal changes on vegetation structure on Conservation Reserve Program fields in northern Missouri. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 29, 979–987.Google Scholar
- Mirarchi, R. E., & Baskett, T. S. (1994). Mourning dove (Zenaida macroura). In A. Poole & F. Gill (Eds.), The birds of North America, No. 117. Philadelphia: The Birds of North America.Google Scholar
- Neter, J., Wasserman, W., & Kutner, M. H. (1989). Applied linear regression models. Homewood, Illinois: Richard D. Irwin, Inc.Google Scholar
- Reynolds, R. E., Shaffer, T. L., Sauer, J. L., & Peterjohn, B. G. (1994). Conservation Reserve Program: Benefit for grassland birds in the Northern Plains. Transactions of the 59th North American Wildlife and Natural Resource Conference, 59, 328–336.Google Scholar
- Robbins, C. S., Bystrack, D., & Geissler, P. H. (1986). The breeding bird survey: Its first fifteen years, 1965–1979. Washington, DC: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Resource Publication 157.Google Scholar
- Robbins, C. S., & Van Velzen, W. T. (1967). The breeding bird survey, 1966. Washington, DC: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Special Scientific Report Wildlife Number 102.Google Scholar
- Roseberry, J. L., & David, L. M. (1994). The Conservation Reserve Program and northern bobwhite population trends in Illinois. Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science, 87, 61–70.Google Scholar
- Ryan, M. R. (2000). Impact of the Conservation Reserve Program on wildlife conservation in the Midwest. In W. L. Hohman & D. J. Halloum (Eds.), A comprehensive review of farm bill contributions to wildlife conservation, 1985–2000 (pp. 45–54). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Technical Report USDA/NRCS/WHMI-2000.Google Scholar
- Ryan, M. R., Burger, L. W., & Kurzejeski, E. W. (1998). The impact of CRP on avian wildlife: A review. Journal of Production Agriculture, 11, 62–66.Google Scholar
- Saab, V., Bock, C. E., Rich, T. D., & Dobkin, D. S. (1995). Livestock grazing effects in western North America. In T. E. Martin & D. M. Finch (Eds.), Ecology and management of neotropical migratory birds (pp. 311–353). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Sauer, J. R., Hines, J. E., & Fallon, J. (2005). The North American breeding bird survey, results and analysis 1966–2005. Version 6.2.2006. Retrieved June 1, 2007, from USGS Pautuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, Maryland website: http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/.
- Sutherland, G. D., Harestad, A. S., Price, K., & Lertzman, D. P. (2000). Scaling of natal dispersal distances in terrestrial birds and mammals. Conservation Ecology, 4, Article 16 Retrieved June 1, 2007 from http://www.consecol.org/vol4/iss1/art16.
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (2000). Summary Report: 1997 National Resources Inventory (revised December 2000), Washington, D. C. & Statistical Laboratory, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Retrieved June 1, 2007 from http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/NRI/1997/summary_report/.
- U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2006). Conservation Reserve Program Overview. Washington, D. C.: United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency Technical Publication. Retrieved September 19, 2007 from http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/fy2005.pdf.
- Vickery, P. D., Tubaro, P. L., Cardoso da Silva, J. M., Peterjohn, B. G., Herkert, J. R., & Cavalcanti, R. B. (1999). Conservation of grassland birds in the western hemisphere. Studies in Avian Biology, 19, 2–26.Google Scholar
- Weber, W. L., Roseberry, J. L., & Woolf, A. (2002). Influence of the Conservation Reserve Program on landscape structure and potential upland wildlife habitat. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 30, 888–898.Google Scholar
- Yasukawa, K., & Searcy, W. A. (1995). Red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus). In A. Poole & F. Gill (Eds.), The birds of North America, No. 117. Philadelphia: The Birds of North America.Google Scholar