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A Meta-Analysis of Lesser Prairie-Chicken Nesting and Brood-Rearing Habitats: Implications for Habitat Management Public Deposited

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  • 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 (d[subscript]i) 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.
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  • Hagen, C. A., Grisham, B. A., Boal, C. W., & Haukos, D. A. (2013). A metaanalysis of lesser prairie‐chicken nesting and brood‐rearing habitats: Implications for habitat management. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 37(4), 750-758. doi:10.1002/wsb.313
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  • 37
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  • 4
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  • We thank J. Weaver, W. Heck, and all members of the Grasslands Charitable foundation for providing financial and logistical support and study site access in New Mexico. Financial and logistical support was provided by Texas Tech Department of Natural Resources Management, U.S. Geological Survey, Texas Parks and Wildlife, New Mexico Game and Fish Division, the Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative, and The Nature Conservancy. A Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit agreement between Oregon State University and Natural Resources Conservation Service provided support for this research.
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