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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    Northern Bobwhite Quail

    Northern Bobwhite Quail
    Photo courtesy of Steve Maslowski/USFWS

Habitat Loss and Fragmentation Effects in the Management of Northern Bobwhites and Eastern Meadowlarks

Formal Title: Habitat Loss and Fragmentation Effects in the Management of Northern Bobwhites and Eastern Meadowlarks

Research Focus: Bobwhite quail and Eastern Meadowlark habitat

Conservation & Management Challenges:

Habitat fragmentation and degradation are considered to be a leading causes of long-term population declines of Northern Bobwhites and many other species of grassland birds, such as Eastern Meadowlark.  Research is needed to understand the factors causing habitat loss and fragmentation and to identify the areas that are high-probability candidates for successful restoration so that optimal decisions can be made.  For example, uncertainty exists regarding the impacts of energy development activities or climate change that affect significant portions of wildlife populations in the GCP LCC. Furthermore, changing land ownership coupled with woody shrub and exotic grass encroachment have reduced the amount and quality of available grassland habitat in the region.

Research Overview:

This project will analyze the amount of grassland bird habitat loss and fragmentation resulting from oil and gas development, as well as threats posed by land ownership change, and woody shrub/exotic grass encroachment.  It will analyze existing bird population monitoring data collected by the Oaks & Prairie Joint Venture and Grassland Bird Monitoring program to examine how the abundance of Northern Bobwhite populations is related to land cover and land use changes across Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana over the past ~3 years.  It will also project future habitat loss and fragmentation caused by these same drivers and model the consequences of management alternatives in achieving desired conservation outcomes.  This analysis will result in identification of key drivers of habitat fragmentation, facilitating effective action to minimize these threats.


View a recorded webinar presentation of results on the Effects of Habitat Loss & Fragmentation study on Bobwhite & Meadowlarks

Access Habitat Loss and Fragmentation Effects project reports on Sciencebase


This 6-month project was initiated in August 2015 and completed in June 2016.  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is funding the monitoring portion of this project, and the Oaks & Prairies Joint Venture is also a major contributor.  The Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative is funding the analysis for this project.

Access the final Habitat & Fragment Effects report on ScienceBase soon


Principal Investigators:  Dr. James Martin, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, Univ. of GA;,

Scot Williamson, Wildlife Management Institute,


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

Bobwhite photo credit on Flickr:  Steve Maslowski/USFWS

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