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Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 171–178 | Cite as

Evaluating butterflies as surrogates for birds and plants in semi-natural grassland buffers

  • Jolie G. Dollar
  • Sam Riffell
  • Heidi L. Adams
  • L. Wes BurgerJr.
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Semi-natural grasslands can support diverse faunal and floral communities, including grassland birds, beneficial insects, and native wildflowers. Monitoring biodiversity of this type of ecosystem is important to assess abundance and richness of grassland-associated species, evaluate success of establishing grasslands, and to assess overall ecosystem health. We tested butterflies as surrogates for birds and plants to assess establishment success of semi-natural grassland buffers in north-central Mississippi using Spearman rank correlation (Spearman’s ρ). Disturbance and grassland butterfly guilds were generally not suitable surrogates for grassland bird metrics, non-grassland bird metrics, or nest density metrics. Butterflies did have consistent positive correlations with plant species richness and forb metrics, as well as consistent negative correlations with grass metrics, but these correlations were generally smaller than what is considered suitable to serve as surrogates. In general, butterflies were not suitable surrogates for birds or plants in semi-natural grassland buffers.

Keywords

Birds Butterflies Grass buffers Plants Species richness Surrogate 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Our work would not have been possible without the cooperation of B. Bryan Farms and Prairie Wildlife, LLC. This research was funded by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service—Agricultural Wildlife Conservation Center (NRCS-AWCC). The Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, the Forest and Wildlife Research Center and College of Forest Resources at Mississippi State University also provided support.

Supplementary material

10841_2014_9626_MOESM1_ESM.docx (126 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 126 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jolie G. Dollar
    • 1
  • Sam Riffell
    • 2
  • Heidi L. Adams
    • 3
  • L. Wes BurgerJr.
    • 2
  1. 1.Community and Natural Resources - Land Grant DivisionAmerican Samoa Community CollegeMapusagaAmerican Samoa
  2. 2.Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and AquacultureMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA
  3. 3.School of Forest ResourcesUniversity of Arkansas at MonticelloMonticelloUSA

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