Conservation Partners connecting working lands conservation from the Gulf of Mexico to the High Plains with the vision of a sustainable landscape of natural resources resilient to the threats and stressors associated with our changing world.

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    Saline prairie in east Texas

    Saline prairie in east Texas
    Courtesy of Toby Gray

Impacts of Habitat Fragmentation on Northern Bobwhites in the Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative

Formal Title: Impacts of Habitat Fragmentation on Northern Bobwhites in the Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative

Research Focus: Habitat Assessment & Planning

Conservation & Management Challenges:

Habitat fragmentation is considered to be a leading cause that is responsible for the long-term population declines of Northern Bobwhites. There are numerous factors responsible for habitat fragmentation such as expanding suburbanization, intensification of agricultural and forestry practices, and invasions of exotic plants; the unifying theme is how people use land for settlement and the production of food and fiber.  As patches of habitat become smaller and more isolated, populations experience a lower probability of persistence that results in local extinctions, which can lead to larger, and perhaps even regional extinctions.  However, we lack a strong empirical and quantified  basis that describes the numerical relationships between population trajectories and persistence of iconic species such as the bobwhite and how land use and land cover has changed during the past four decades.

Research Overview:

This research project will examine how the abundance of Northern Bobwhite populations is related to land cover and land use changes across Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana during the past four decades.  To achieve this goal the project will identify regions where bobwhite have declined rangewide, then quantify (a) population trends for those regions using breeding bird survey data and (b) changes in land use over the same time period.  In addition, both landsat data and aerial photography will be used to characterize the habitat patch size and connectivity within the regions as well as vegetation suitable for bobwhite.  Finally, economic growth projections will be used to predict potential future impacts on Northern Bobwhite populations as well as opportunities for habitat conservation and restoration.

Results:

This study was completed in August 2016.

View a recorded webinar of results from the 40-year analysis of the impacts of habitat fragmentation on Northern Bobwhite

View the Impacts of Habitat Fragmentation project reports on ScienceBase

Read an article about the project: Habitat Fragmentation: Viewing 40 Years of Land Use Change in Texas and Oklahoma through the Eyes of the Northern Bobwhite

Status:

This 6-month project was initiated in July 2015 and was completed in Sep 2016.  The Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative is funding this project with matching funds provided by Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

 

Contacts:

Principal Investigator:  Leonard A. Brennan: Professor and C. C. Winn Endowed Chair for Quail Research, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, lennybrennan713@gmail.com361-215-2237

 

Humberto Perotto-Baldivieso, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University - Kingsville

  

Landscape Conservation Cooperative Point-of-Contact: Bill Bartush, Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative, National Wetlands Research Center, 700 Cajundome Boulevard, Lafayette, LA 70506  

 

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