Northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) populations have declined nationally for at least the past 4 decades. Field borders have been promoted as an important component of conservation plans to reverse this decline. Field border characteristics, such as shape and the landscapes in which the borders are established, have the potential to influence their effectiveness for recovering northern bobwhite populations. We established narrow linear (approx. 3-m-wide) and nonlinear field borders on farms in agriculture-dominated and forest-dominated landscapes in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, USA, after collecting pretreatment data on summer bobwhite abundance. After establishment of field borders, summer bobwhite abundance nearly doubled on farms in agriculture-dominated landscapes and increased approximately 57% on farms with nonlinear field borders. Summer bobwhite abundance did not increase on farms with linear field borders in forest-dominated landscapes. Nonlinear and narrow linear field borders can be used to increase bobwhite numbers on farms in landscapes dominated by agriculture. Less flexibility exists in forest-dominated landscapes, where we found only nonlinear field borders resulted in an increase.
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Vol. 72 • No. 6