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Tuesday, January 26 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Effects of Tree Encroachment on Lesser Prairie-Chickens

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AUTHORS: Joseph Lautenbach*, Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians-Inland Fish and Wildlife, Reid Plumb, Kansas State University, David Haukos, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Jim Pitman, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Christian Hagen, Oregon State University

ABSTRACT: Lesser prairie-chickens Tympanuchus pallidicinctus, a species of prairie grouse native to the southwest Great Plains, have experienced major population declines since the early 1900s resulting in being listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. Tree encroachment into grasslands has been identified as a source of habitat loss. While tree encroachment has been implicated as a source of habitat loss, it is poorly understood how tree encroachment into grasslands impacts lesser prairie-chickens. In 2013 and 2014, satellite and VHF transmitters were attached to 62 females in a landscape where tree encroachment into grasslands was a concern. On average, females used sites twice as far from trees as would be expected at random (used: 282.5 m ± 0.96 SE, random: 128.9 m ± 0.77 SE). Using a resource selection framework, we found that lesser prairie-chickens have a high probability of avoiding areas with >4 trees/ha. In addition, lesser prairie-chickens only nested in habitats with tree densities

Tuesday January 26, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST