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Effects of the Conservation Reserve Program on Wildlife in Southeast Nebraska

Justin W. King and Julie A. Savidge
Wildlife Society Bulletin (1973-2006)
Vol. 23, No. 3 (Autumn, 1995), pp. 377-385
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3782943
Page Count: 9
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Effects of the Conservation Reserve Program on Wildlife in Southeast Nebraska
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Abstract

In 1989-1990 spring roadside counts in southeast Nebraska, ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) numbers were higher in areas with approximately 20% of the cropland in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) than in areas with <5%. Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta, S. magna) and eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) numbers did not differ between areas. In 1989-1990 summer counts, meadowlark, northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), and cottontail populations did not differ between the low and high CRP enrollment areas. We conducted spring and winter bird surveys on 4 cover types (CRP land seeded to either cool-season or warm-season grass, prairie, and sorghum fields). Cropland sites had the fewest birds in spring 1989 and 1990, with only killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) and horned larks (Eremophila alpestris) recorded. Dickcissels (Spiza americana) and grasshopper sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum) were the most abundant species on the grassland sites. No differences were found between numbers of birds or avian richness between the cool-season and warm-season cover types. Individual fields differed; vegetation structure and amount of cover were more important in determining bird densities and richness than plant diversity. In the winters of 1990 and 1991, warm-season grass sites had the highest bird densities and number of species.

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