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1 June 2006 Effects of Habitat Management for Ducks on Target and Nontarget Species
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Abstract

Habitat management for ducks has significant implications for the conservation of other species. We hypothesized that, because of their flagship and umbrella characteristics, upland-nesting ducks might be effective surrogate species for songbird and shorebird conservation in the dry mixed-grass prairie. We tested this by comparing effects of habitat management (cattle grazing deferments and field size), distance to other habitat (water, cropland/forage, roads), and vegetation, on the richness and density of ducks, songbirds, and shorebirds in southern Alberta, Canada. There were no consistently similar responses to these habitat characteristics among ducks, songbirds and shorebirds. Despite their conceptual appeal, ducks are, therefore, unlikely to be good surrogate species for avian conservation in the dry mixed-grass prairie. Habitat managers and conservation planners should empirically validate whether habitat management for ducks positively affects other species, if this is a management objective. Our results suggest that in dry mixed-grass prairie, deferring cattle grazing is likely to increase densities of only lesser scaup but that grazing, in general, can be used by managers to create a heterogeneous habitat that supports many species.

NICOLA KOPER and FIONA K. A. SCHMIEGELOW "Effects of Habitat Management for Ducks on Target and Nontarget Species," Journal of Wildlife Management 70(3), 823-834, (1 June 2006). https://doi.org/10.2193/0022-541X(2006)70[823:EOHMFD]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 June 2006
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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