Landscape Ecology

, Volume 17, Issue 7, pp 617–628 | Cite as

Multi-scale effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on lesser prairie-chicken populations of the US Southern Great Plains

  • Samuel D. Fuhlendorf
  • Alan J.W. Woodward
  • David M. Leslie
  • John S. Shackford


Large-scale patterns of land use and fragmentation have been associatedwith the decline of many imperiled wildlife populations. Lesserprairie-chickens(Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) are restricted to thesouthernGreat Plains of North America, and their population and range have declined by> 90% over the past 100 years. Our objective was to examine scale-dependentrelationships between landscape structure and change and long-term populationtrends for lesser prairie-chicken populations in the southern Great Plains. Weused a geographic information system (GIS) to quantify landscape composition,pattern and change at multiple scales (extents) for fragmented agriculturallandscapes surrounding 10 lesser prairie-chicken leks. Trend analysis oflong-term population data was used to classify each population and landscape(declined, sustained). We analyzed metrics of landscape structure and changeusing a repeated measures analysis of variance to determine significant effects(α = 0.10) between declining and sustained landscapes across multiplescales. Four metrics of landscape structure and change (landscape change index,percent cropland, increases in tree-dominated cover types, and changes in edgedensity) contained significant interactions between population status andscale,indicating different scaling effects on landscapes with declining and stablepopulations. Any single spatial scale that was evaluated would not have givencomplete results of the influences of landscape structure and change on lesserprairie-chicken populations. The smallest spatial scales (452, 905, and 1,810ha) predicted that changes in edge density and largest patch sizewere the only important variables, while large-scale analysis (7,238ha) suggested that the amount of cropland, increase in trees(mostly Juniperus virginiana), and general landscapechanges were most important. Changes in landscape structure over the pastseveral decades had stronger relationships with dynamics of lesserprairie-chicken populations than current landscape structure. Observed changessuggest that these local populations may be appropriately viewed from ametapopulation perspective and future conservation efforts should evaluateeffects of fragmentation on dispersal, colonization, and extinction patterns.

Agriculture Conservation ecology Fragmentation Grasslands Hierarchy Landscape change Landscape dynamics Landscape structure Lesser prairie-chicken Rangeland S. Great Plains USA Scale Species conservation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aldrich J.W. 1963. Geographic orientation of American Tetraonidae. Journal of Wildlife Management 27: 529–545.Google Scholar
  2. Andren H. 1994. Effects of habitat fragmentation on birds and mammals in landscapes with different proportions of suitable habitat: a review. Oikos 71: 355–366.Google Scholar
  3. Archer S. 1994. Woody plant encroachment into Southwestern grasslands and savannas: rates, patterns, and proximate causes. In: Varva M., Laycock W.A. and Pieper R.D. (eds), Ecological Implications of Livestock Herbivory in the West. Society for Range Management, Denver, Colorado, USA, pp. 13–68.Google Scholar
  4. Bergin T.M., Best L.B., Freemark K.E. and Koehler K.J. 2000. Effects of landscape structure on nest predation in roadsides of a midwestern agroecosystem: a multi-scale analysis. Landscape Ecology 15: 131–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bissonette J.A. 1997. Scale-sensitive ecological properties: Historical context, current meaning. In: Bissonette J.A. (ed.), Wildlife and Landscape Ecology: Effects of Pattern and Scale. Springer, New York, New York, USA, pp. 3–31.Google Scholar
  6. Burke D. and Goulet H. 1998. Landscape and area effects on beetle assemblages in Ontario. Ecography 21: 472–479.Google Scholar
  7. Cannon R.W. and Knopf F.L. 1981. Lesser prairie-chicken densities on shinnery oak and sand sagebrush rangelands in Oklahoma. Journal of Wildlife Management 45: 521–524.Google Scholar
  8. Carlile D.W., Skalski J.R., Batker J.E., Thomas J.M. and Cullinam V.I. 1989. Determination of ecological scale. Landscape Ecology 2: 203–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Collins B.T. 1990. Using re-randomizing tests in route-regression analysis of avian population trends. In: Sauer J.R. and Droege S. (eds), Survey Designs and Statistical Methods for the Estimation of Avian Population Trends. Vol. 90. US Fish. Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep., pp. 63–70.Google Scholar
  10. Coppedge B.R., Engle D.M., Masters R.E. and Gregory M.S. 2001. Avian Response to landscape change in fragmented southern Great Plains grasslands. Ecological Applications 11: 47–59.Google Scholar
  11. Costanza R. and Maxwell T. 1994. Resolution and predictability: an approach to the scaling problem. Landscape Ecology 9: 47–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crawford J.A. 1980. Status, problems, and research needs of the lesser prairie-chicken. In: Vohs P.A. and Knopf F.L. (eds), Proceedings prairie grouse symposium. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA, pp. 1–7.Google Scholar
  13. Crawford J.A. and Bolen E.G. 1976. Effects of land use on lesser prairie-chickens in Texas. Journal of Wildlife Management 40: 96–104.Google Scholar
  14. Cutler A. 1991. Nested faunas and extinction in fragmented habitats. Conservation Biology 5: 496–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Davison V.E. 1940. An eight year census of lesser prairie-chickens. Journal of Wildlife Management 4: 55–62.Google Scholar
  16. Debinski D.M. and Holt R.D. 2000. A survey and overview of habitat fragmentation experiments. Conservation Biology 14: 342–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Environmental Systems Research Institute INC 1995. Understanding GIS: The ARC/INFO method. Version 7 for UNIX and Open VMS. John Wiley & Sons Inc, New York, New York, USA.Google Scholar
  18. Farina A. 2000. Landscape Ecology in Action. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  19. Forman R.T.T. and Godron M. 1986. Landscape Ecology. John Wiley & Sons, New York, New York, USA.Google Scholar
  20. Fritz R.S. 1979. Consequences of insular population structure: distribution and extinction of spruce grouse populations. Oecologia 42: 57–65.Google Scholar
  21. Fuhlendorf S.D. and Smeins F.E. 1996. Spatial scale influence on long-term temporal patterns of a semi-arid grassland. Landscape Ecology 11: 107–113.Google Scholar
  22. Fuhlendorf S.D. and Smeins F.E. 1999. Scaling effects in a semiarid grassland. Journal of Vegetation Science 10: 731–738.Google Scholar
  23. Fuhlendorf S.D., Smeins F.E. and Grant W.E. 1996. Simulation of a fire-sensitive ecological threshold: a case study of Ashe juniper on the Edwards Plateau of Texas, USA. Ecological Modelling 90: 245–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fuhlendorf S.D., Zhang H., Tunnell T.R., Engle D.M. and Fernald Cross A. 2000. Effects of grazing on restoration of southern mixed prairie soils. Restoration Ecology 10: 401–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gardner R.H. 1998. Pattern, process and the analysis of spatial scales. In: Peterson D.L. and Parker V.T. (eds), Ecological Scale: Theory and Applications. Columbia University Press, New York, New York, USA, pp. 17–34.Google Scholar
  26. Giesen K.M. 1994a. Movements and nesting habitat of lesser prairie-chicken hens in Colorado. Southwestern Naturalist 39: 96–98.Google Scholar
  27. Giesen K.M. 1994b. Breeding range and population status of lesser prairie-chickens in Colorado. Prairie Naturalist 26: 175–182.Google Scholar
  28. Giesen K.M. 1998. The lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus). In: Poole A. and Gill F. (eds), The Birds of North America, No. 364. The Birds of North America Inc, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, pp. 1–19.Google Scholar
  29. Glenn S.M., Collins S.L. and Gibson D.J. 1992. Disturbances in tallgrass prairie: Local and regional effects on community heterogeneity. Landscape Ecology 7: 243–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Greig-Smith P. 1983. Quantitative Plant Ecology. 3rd edn. University of California Press, Berkeley, California, USA.Google Scholar
  31. Hargis C.D., Bissonette J.A. and David J.L. 1998. The behavior of landscape metrics commonly used in the study of habitat fragmentation. Landscape Ecology 13: 167–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jackson A.S. and DeArment R. 1963. The lesser prairie chicken in the Texas panhandle. Journal of Wildlife Management 27: 733–737.Google Scholar
  33. Jones R.E. 1963. Identification and analysis of lesser and greater prairie-chicken habitat. Journal of Wildlife Management 27: 757–778.Google Scholar
  34. Kershaw K.A. 1957. The use of cover and frequency in the detection of pattern in plant communities. Ecology 38: 291–299.Google Scholar
  35. Knick S.T. and Rotenberry J.T. 2000. Ghosts of habitat past: contribution of landscape change to current habitats used by shrubland birds. Ecology 8: 220–227.Google Scholar
  36. Kolasa J. and Waltho N. 1998. A hierarchical view of habitat and its relationship to species abundance. In: Peterson D.L. and Parker V.T. (eds), Ecological Scale: Theory and Applications. Columbia University Press, New York, New York, USA, pp. 55–78.Google Scholar
  37. Law B.S. and Dickman C.R. 1998. The use of habitat mosaics by terrestrial vertebrate fauna: implications for conservation and management. Biodiversity and Conservation 7: 323–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Leimgruber P., McShea W.J. and Rappole J.H. 1994. Predation on artifical nests in large forest blocks. Journal of Wildlife Management 58: 254–260.Google Scholar
  39. Leopold A. 1933. Game Management. Scribners sons, New York, New York, USA, 481 p.Google Scholar
  40. Levin S.A. 1992. The problem of pattern and scale in ecology. Ecology 73: 1943–1967.Google Scholar
  41. Littell R.C., Milliken G.A., Stroup W.W. and Wolfinger R.D. 1996. SAS® System for mixed models. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, North Carolina, USA.Google Scholar
  42. McGarigal K. and Marks B.J. 1995. FRAGSTATS: spatial pattern analysis program for quantifying landscape structure. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-351. US Dept. of Ag. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, Oregon, USA.Google Scholar
  43. McGarigal K. and McComb W.C. 1995. Relationship between landscape structure and breeding birds in the Oregon coast range. Ecological Monographs 65: 235–260.Google Scholar
  44. Menge B.A. and Olson A.M. 1990. Role of scale and environmental factors in the regulation of community structure. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 5: 52–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Miller J.N., Brooks R.P. and Croonquist M.J. 1997. Effects of landscape patterns on biotic communities. Landscape Ecology 12: 137–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Milne B.T., Johnston K.M. and Forman R.T.T. 1989. Scale-dependent proximity of wildlife habitat in a spatially-neutral Bayesian model. Landscape Ecology 2: 101–110.Google Scholar
  47. Moses L.E. and Rabinowitz D. 1990. Estimating (relative) species abundance from route counts of the Breeding Bird Survey. In: Sauer J.R. and Droege S. (eds), Survey Designs and Statistical Methods for the Estimation of Avian Population Trends. Vol. 90(1). US Fish. Wildl. Serv. Biol Rep., pp. 71–79.Google Scholar
  48. Niemuth N.D. 2000. Land use and vegetation associated with greater prairie-chicken leks in an agricultural landscape. Journal of Wildlife Management 64: 278–286Google Scholar
  49. O’Neill R.V., DeAngelis D.L., Waide J.B. and Allen T.F.H. 1986. A Hierarchical Concept of Ecosystems. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersy, USA.Google Scholar
  50. Pulliam H.R. 1988. Sources, sinks, and population regulation. American Naturalist 132: 652–661.Google Scholar
  51. Pulliam H.R., Dunning J.B. Jr and Liu J. 1992. Population dynamics in complex landscapes: a case study. Ecological Applications 2: 165–177.Google Scholar
  52. Riley T.Z. and Davis C.A. 1993. Vegetation characteristics of lesser prairie-chicken brood foraging sites. Prairie Naturalist 25: 243–248.Google Scholar
  53. Riley T.Z., Davis C.A., Ortiz M. and Wisdom M.J. 1992. Vegetative characteristics of successful and unsuccessful nests of lesser prairie chickens. Journal of Wildlife Management 56: 383–387.Google Scholar
  54. Riley T.Z., Davis C.A., Candelaria M.A. and Suminski H.R. 1994. Lesser prairie-chicken movements and home ranges in New Mexico. Prairie Naturalist 26: 183–186.Google Scholar
  55. Ritchie M.E. 1997. Populations in a landscape context: Sources, sinks and metapopulations. In: Bissonette J.A. (ed.), Wildlife and Landscape Ecology: Effects of Pattern and Scale. Springer, New York, New York, USA, pp. 160–184.Google Scholar
  56. Ritters K.H., O’Neill R.V., Hunsaker C.T., Wickham J.D., Yankee D.H., Timmins S.P. et al. 1995. A factor analysis of landscape pattern and structure metrics. Landscape Ecology 10: 23–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Ryan M.L., Burger L.W. Jr, Jones D.P. and Wywialowski A.P. 1998. Breeding ecology of greater prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) in relation to prairie landscape configuration. American Midland Naturalist 140: 111–121.Google Scholar
  58. SAS Institute. 1985. SAS user’s guide: statistics. SAS Institute, Cary, North Carolina, USA.Google Scholar
  59. Saab V. 1999. Importance of spatial scale to habitat use by breeding birds in riparian forests: a hierarchical analysis. Ecological Applications 9: 135–151.Google Scholar
  60. Schneider D.C. 1994. Quantitative Ecology: Spatial and Temporal Scaling. Academic Press, San Diego, California, USA.Google Scholar
  61. Stommel H. 1963. Varieties of oceanographic experience. Science 139: 572–576.Google Scholar
  62. Sugihara G. and May R. 1990. Applications of fractals in ecology. Tree 5: 79–86.Google Scholar
  63. Swetnam T.W., Alien C.D. and Betancourt J.L. 1999. Applied historical ecology: using the past to manage for the future. Ecological Applications 9: 1189–1206.Google Scholar
  64. Taylor M.A. and Guthery F.S. 1980a. Status, Ecology, and Management of the Lesser Prairie-chicken. US For. Serv. Gen. Tech.Google Scholar
  65. Rep. RM-77. Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.Google Scholar
  66. Taylor M.S. and Guthery F.S. 1980b. Fall-winter movements, ranges, and habitat use of lesser prairie-chickens. Journal of Wildlife Management 44: 521–524.Google Scholar
  67. Tscharntke T. 1992. Fragmentation of Phragmites habitats, minimum viable population size, habitat suitability, and local extinction of moths, midges, flies, aphids, and birds. Conservation Biology 6: 530–536.Google Scholar
  68. Turner M.G. 1990. Spatial and temporal analysis of landscape patterns. Landscape Ecology 4: 21–30.Google Scholar
  69. Turner M.G. and Gardner R.H. 1991. Quantitative Methods in Landscape Ecology: The Analysis and Interpretation of Landscape Heterogeneity. Springer-Verlag, New York, New York, USA.Google Scholar
  70. Turner M.G., Pearson S.M., Romme W.M. and Wallace L.L. 1997. Landscape heterogeneity and ungulate dynamics: What spatial scales are important? In: Bissonette J.A. (ed.), Wildlife and Landscape Ecology. Springer, New York, New York, USA, pp. 331–348.Google Scholar
  71. Wiens J.A. 1989. Spatial scaling in ecology. Functional Ecology 3: 385–397.Google Scholar
  72. Wiens J.A., Stenseth N.C., Van Horne B. and Ims R.A. 1993. Ecological mechanisms and landscape ecology. Oikos 66: 369–380.Google Scholar
  73. Wiens J.A., Crist T.O., With K.A. and Milne B.T. 1995. Fractal patterns of insect movement in microlandscape mosaics. Ecology 76: 663–666.Google Scholar
  74. Woodward A.J.W., Fuhlendorf S.D., Leslie D.M. Jr and Shackford J. 2001. Influence of landscape composition and change on lesser prairie-chicken populations. American Midland Naturalist 145: 261–274.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel D. Fuhlendorf
    • 1
  • Alan J.W. Woodward
    • 1
  • David M. Leslie
    • 2
  • John S. Shackford
    • 2
  1. 1.Rangeland Ecology and Management, Department of Plant and Soil SciencesOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  2. 2.Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, US Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Department of ZoologyOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA

Personalised recommendations