USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Managing Habitat for Grassland Birds
A Guide for Wisconsin

Glossary


Acreage Conservation Reserve (ACR)
Part of the now-defunct U.S. Department of Agriculture Feed Grain Program that took former row crop fields out of production (set-aside), typically for one year, but sometimes for more than one year. Planted or volunteer vegetation provided soil erosion protection.
Biomass energy crops
Plant-derived materials (such as harvested woody or herbaceous crops) that supply useful energy either by direct combustion or by conversion into liquid or gaseous fuels.
Brood parasitism
An example of brood parasitism: female brown-headed cowbirds laying eggs in the nest of a host species. The host species may then raise the cowbird chick(s) at the expense of their own young.
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
A U.S. Department of Agriculture program that takes highly erodible or environmentally sensitive cropland out of production for 10 to 15 years. Farmers receive an annual rental payment in return. Most enrolled land is planted to perennial grasses and grass/legume mixtures. Some land is planted to trees.
Conservation tillage
A set of practices in which varying degrees of crop residue remain on the soil surface before and after planting agricultural crops.
Cool-season grass
Any grass species that reaches its peak growth and photosynthetic activity in the relatively cool weather of spring and fall. These grasses usually flower before July 15. The plant goes dormant or growth slows in the heat and dryness of summer. These grasses include both native and non-native species; the majority, however, are non-native.
Ecological trap
A habitat that attracts nesting birds in the spring but supports only low or no nest productivity, adult survival, or juvenile survival.
Edge effects
The apparent phenomenon of low nest success near certain kinds of habitat edges due to high rates of nest predation and brood parasitism.
Extirpated
Refers to species that formerly occurred in Wisconsin but no longer include the state within their range.
Forbs
Non-grassy herbaceous plants, typically broad-leaved species.
Habitat guild
A group of bird species that tend to occur in similar types of habitats. Wisconsin bird habitat guilds include grassland, forest, wetland, urban/farmstead, and edge/generalist guilds.
Heath
Low-growing (<1 m tall) woody plants, usually referring to ericaceous shrubs but here meaning any low woody plants.
Height-density
One of the tools managers use to assess habitat structure in the field. It is a measurement that represents the height below which vegetation is too dense to permit sight of a graduated pole from a distance of 4 m. This is sometimes also called a visual obstruction measurement (Robel et al. 1970).
Idle grassland
Any habitat that is not cut, burned, cropped, heavily grazed, cultivated, or otherwise disturbed during the bird breeding season.
Linear edge
Structural features in a grassland or agricultural landscape that form linear, sharply defined boundaries or breaks between woody and herbaceous habitat types and that can provide habitat or travel corridors for nest parasites or predators. Examples include brushy ditches and fencelines, hedge rows and tree rows, and woodlot edges.
Litter layer
A horizontal layer of dead herbaceous vegetation on or just above the soil surface.
Mesic (dry-mesic, wet-mesic)
Pertaining to an environment with a moderate amount of moisture; as opposed to wet (hydric) or dry (xeric) environments.
Monotypic stands
Plantings dominated by one species; monocultures.
Openness
Dominance of herbaceous vegetation in landscapes characterized by the absence of major woody vegetation and the absence or low density of farmsteads and other major above-ground structures.
Refugia
Places where organisms can avoid life-threatening disturbances.
Suitable
Used in reference to grassland bird habitat. Refers to habitats that are high quality (e.g., habitats that typically attract good densities of at least some grassland bird species and have relatively high nesting productivity) or that at minimum do not have significant negative impacts on grassland birds (e.g., habitats such as small grains that do not support high diversity or density of nesting birds but that may increase the effective size of an open grassland landscape, buffer other high quality habitats from woody edges, etc.).
Warm-season grass
Any grass species that reaches its peak growth and photosynthetic activity during the warm summer months—typically between June 15 and August 30. These grasses usually flower after July 1 to 15.
Waterfowl Production Area (WPA)
Upland fields and wetlands purchased and managed by the USFWS to provide grassland nesting habitat for waterfowl.

Previous Section -- Appendix G
Return to Contents
Next Section -- Literature Cited

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/wiscbird/glossary.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 20:07:01 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww55]