Effects of Land Use on Lesser Prairie Chickens in Texas

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1976
Authors:CRAWFORD, JOHNA, Bolen, EG
Journal:The Journal of Wildlife Management
Date Published:1976
ISBN Number:0022541X
Keywords:Phasianidae, Tympanuchus, Tympanuchus pallidicinctus
Abstract:The impact of land use on lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) populations in west Texas was studied from October 1971 to February 1974. Habitat factors considered were soil type, range condition, grazing intensity, amount and type of cultivation, amount of minimum tillage farming, and plant cover as measured by life-form criteria. Lesser prairie chicken populations were estimated from spring and fall lek censuses. Results indicated that extensive areas of native rangeland interspersed with cropland are required to sustain the population. Lek counts averaged 24 males in the spring and 36 birds in the fall where 5-37 percent of the land was used for grain sorghum production and the remainder composed of native shinnery oak (Quercus havardii) rangeland. Lek populations on areas with 100 percent rangeland averaged 12 males in spring and 26 birds in fall. Under existing methods of land use, areas with less than 63 percent rangeland appear incapable of supporting stable populations of lesser prairie chickens. Minimum-tillage farming enhances food availability, but the greatest potential threat to the remaining lesser prairie chicken populations in west Texas is the additional loss of native rangeland to cultivation.
Short Title:The Journal of Wildlife Management
Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith