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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