The effects of fine-scale land use patterns on the distribution of grassland birds in the prairie pothole region

Our team will estimate the effects of anthropogenic land use modification on the distributions of grassland birds in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR), USA. The models we develop will improve understanding of how local land use decisions impacts grassland bird populations. Our models will allow stakeholders to estimate how the diversity of grassland birds changes across a landscape with varying land use practices. Our study will focus on grassland bird species with varying conservation needs and include areas of the PPR that have a broad spectrum of land use conditions. We will utilize modern Bayesian techniques to develop species distribution models that fully integrate environmental data layers and species distribution data from multiple sources. We will use grassland bird presence/absence data from over 1,500 avian point count stations collected by the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) throughout the PPR. Our Bayesian distribution models will estimate the probability of species occurrence, given the land use conditions and habitat features along BBS stops. Occurrence probabilities will be displayed in a spatially explicit in the form of maps and probability surfaces. To maximize applicability to management, our distribution models will encompass a broad geographic extent and also include a fine-scale resolution that is relevant to species habitat selection choices and local land use decisions.

Principal Investigator(s):

Clint R Otto

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