Decision support for restoration and management of Service-owned native prairies: Implications for grassland bird communities

Science Center Objects

More than 100,000 ha of native tallgrass and mixed-grass prairies are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in the northern Great Plains.  Although prairies in this region evolved with grazing, fire, and climatic variability, management of FWS grasslands often has been passive and involved extended periods of rest.  In 2008, the USGS and the FWS initiated a collaborative effort, the Native Prairie Adaptive Management Project (NPAM).  NPAM employs the principles of adaptive management to evaluate and improve management practices that address invasive plant issues and restoration efforts on FWS grasslands over time.  In collaboration with FWS, Northern Prairie initiated a companion study that leverages the NPAM effort to develop competing models for the response of grassland breeding birds to management treatments.  The primary objectives of this study are to assess the response of grassland birds to various management treatments (rest, fire, grazing) that are being implemented to restore vegetation composition on FWS-owned grasslands, and to explore the effects of vegetation structure and composition as mechanisms for triggering grassland bird responses to management.