Lesser prairie-chickens avoid prairie habitat with just one redcedar per acre. In the southwestern part of their range, they strongly prefer sites with less than one percent mesquite cover. Range managers need to be able to detect very low densities of encroaching woody plants on the landscape to target effective conservation efforts. The Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative’s latest Science to Solutions paper describes a new mapping tool that offers that capacity and more.
The new, high-resolution mapping tool will allow range managers to evaluate the landscape-level impacts of woody encroachment on both lesser prairie-chicken and greater sage-grouse habitat even at very low densities. This precise information helps target conservation actions and monitor results.
A team of scientists from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Colorado State University, The Nature Conservancy, University of Wyoming, University of Montana, Oregon State University, US Geological Survey, University of Minnesota, and New Mexico State University produced the mapping tool.
A research paper on the mapping tool and its applications was published earlier this month in a special edition of Rangeland Ecology & Management, the scientific journal of the Society for Range Management, focused on the effects and management of woody encroachment as it relates to habitat for lesser prairie-chickens and greater sage-grouse.
A full-day symposium on the research showcased in the January 2017 issue of Rangeland Ecology & Management will take place on January 31, 2017, at the Society for Range Management annual conference. The symposium will be live-streamed on the Sage Grouse Initiative website (live-streaming is free and open to the public).
LPCI’s Science to Solutions summary explains the tool and its applications, particularly as it relates to lesser prairie-chicken habitat conservation.