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Research at St Andrews

Multi-region response to conservation buffers targeted for northern bobwhite

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle



We coordinated a large-scale evaluation of northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) population response to establishment of 9-m to 37-m linear patches (buffers) of native herbaceous vegetation along row-crop field margins as part of the Conservation Reserve Program practice Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds (CP33). We compared northern bobwhite covey densities on 1,088 paired row-crop fields with and without native herbaceous buffers in 13 states during autumn, 20062008. We used a 2-stage random effects modeling approach that incorporates the effective area as an offset in generalized linear mixed models to assess regional relationships among autumn bobwhite covey densities and covariates of field type (i.e., fields with vs. without native herbaceous buffers), ecological region, year, survey week, and contracted vegetative cover (i.e., planting native grasses and forbs vs. establishing through natural regeneration). Covey density was correlated with year and interaction effects of field type and ecological region. The year effect suggested annual variation in covey densities, whereas the field type by ecological region interaction suggested covey response to buffers was dependent on spatial location, likely reflecting differences in buffer establishment, succession, and characteristics of the surrounding landscape among regions. Mean fitted covey density on fields across all survey sites was 0.047 (+/- 0.008 bootstrap standard error [BSE]) and 0.031coveys/ha (+/- 0.003 BSE) on row-crop fields with and without herbaceous buffers, respectively. Covey density was greater on fields with buffers relative to matched, comparison fields without buffers in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (241%; P



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-725
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Issue number4
Early online date19 Feb 2013
StatePublished - May 2013

    Research areas

  • agricultural conservation, Colinus virginianus, conservation buffers, conservation reserve program, CP33, density estimation, multi-scale assessment, northern bobwhite, targeted conservation practices, 2-stage modeling, FIELD BORDERS, HABITAT, WILDLIFE, DECLINE, POPULATIONS, MANAGEMENT, COMMUNITY, ABUNDANCE, DENSITY, POLICY

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ID: 60706364