|About the Book|
Changes in distribution and abundance of prairie grouse ( Tympanuchus spp.) have been linked to landscape-level habitat changes throughout their range. Since European settlement, millions of acres of native prairie have been lost to croplandMoreChanges in distribution and abundance of prairie grouse ( Tympanuchus spp.) have been linked to landscape-level habitat changes throughout their range. Since European settlement, millions of acres of native prairie have been lost to cropland conversion within the original range of prairie grouse in North America. Conversely, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) of the Federal Food Security Act of 1985 converted millions of cropland acres back to perennial grassland. These large-scale land use changes have undoubtedly impacted prairie grouse abundance and distribution. I investigated sharp-tailed grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus) and greater prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus cupido) distribution and abundance in relation to landscape-level land use treatments at multiple scales in northeastern South Dakota, U.S.A., during 2007 and 2008. I searched for leks in three, 10000-ha study areas with dissimilar landscape compositions including varying influence of the CRP grasslands and agriculture intensity. I defined and digitized the entire landscape in the study areas into nine general land use categories using a vector-based geographic information system (GIS). I analyzed the land use surrounding lek sites at multiple scales (400, 800, 1200, 1600, 2000, 2400, and 3000 m) because birds may utilize the landscape differently dependant upon scale. I identified land use factors (e.g., cropland, CRP land, etc.) that influenced male lek attendance and lek location at each scale. Spatial GIS habitat suitability models were also developed to project how anticipated land use changes could affect prairie grouse habitat. Significantly more land in grass (CRP and/or pasture) was found surrounding lek locations versus non-use points at several scales at all study areas. Opposite trends were found for cropland. The proportion of pasturelands, CRP grasslands, and a combination of pasturelands and CRP grasslands were strong predictors of lek presence at several scales at all study areas.