Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
The burning and burning/grazing practices examined in this study reduced the vigor of the brush but also reduced the nest densities of some species of breeding waterfowl. Grazing alone reduced nest densities during the grazing years, but the vegetation and ducks recovered quickly after grazing ended.
Any management practice may enhance some species and deter others. The results of our study suggest that the manipulations we studied were detrimental for most species of upland-nesting waterfowl, at least in some years. The control fields, on which no vegetation management was used, remained attractive to nesting waterfowl during the course of the study. Management scenarios similar to those we studied demonstrated little benefit on lands where the goal is enhancement of waterfowl populations. If the management objectives of federal refuge lands are broad and include species other than waterfowl, then there may be advantages to species not surveyed here that outweigh the negative effects on waterfowl.