A meta-analysis of lesser prairie-chicken nesting and brood-rearing habitats: implications for habitat management

Wildlife Society Bulletin
By: , and 

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Abstract

The distribution and range of lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) has been reduced by >90% since European settlement of the Great Plains of North America. Currently, lesser prairie-chickens occupy 3 general vegetation communities: sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia), sand shinnery oak (Quercus havardii), and mixed-grass prairies juxtaposed with Conservation Reserve Program grasslands. As a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act, there is a need for a synthesis that characterizes habitat structure rangewide. Thus, we conducted a meta-analysis of vegetation characteristics at nest sites and brood habitats to determine whether there was an overall effect (Hedges' d) of habitat selection and to estimate average (95% CI) habitat characteristics at use sites. We estimated effect sizes (di) from the difference between use (nests and brood sites) and random sampling sites for each study (n = 14), and derived an overall effect size (d++). There was a general effect for habitat selection as evidenced by low levels of variation in effect sizes across studies and regions. There was a small to medium effect (d++) = 0.20-0.82) of selection for greater vertical structure (visual obstruction) by nesting females in both vegetation communities, and selection against bare ground (d++ = 0.20-0.58). Females with broods exhibited less selectivity for habitat components except for vertical structure. The variation of d++ was greater during nesting than brooding periods, signifying a seasonal shift in habitat use, and perhaps a greater range of tolerance for brood-rearing habitat. The overall estimates of vegetation cover were consistent with those provided in management guidelines for the species.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A meta-analysis of lesser prairie-chicken nesting and brood-rearing habitats: implications for habitat management
Series title Wildlife Society Bulletin
DOI 10.1002/wsb.313
Volume 37
Issue 4
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Wildlife Society
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 9 p.
First page 750
Last page 758
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N