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20 September 2022 Influences of Land Cover, Fire, and Human Activity on Bison Habitat Selection in Restored Grasslands
Julia C. Brockman, Clayton K. Nielsen, Jeffery W. Walk
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Effective fire and grazing management practices are crucial to the restoration of prairie ecosystems, but prairie restoration efforts have only recently included bison (Bison bison) reintroduction. Given the novelty of such efforts and the importance of grazing in ecosystem dynamics, questions remain regarding how human activity and habitat management affect bison habitat selection. We radiocollared seven female bison at an enclosed restored grassland site in northern Illinois during 2014–2016 and developed resource selection models to evaluate the influence of land cover, fire management, and concentrated human activity on habitat selection by bison. To help managers target areas for future activities, we used the most-supported model to map predicted bison use across the study area. Our results indicated that bison habitat selection was primarily driven by the type of restoration conducted at a location, with strong selection for partially restored prairie and avoidance of nongrassland areas. These results are likely due to the expected high relative abundance of perennial grasses at partially restored prairie sites in our study area. Our research emphasizes the relationship between restoration approaches and grazers in prairie ecosystems and underscores the importance of including restoration practices in habitat selection research. Additionally, the map of predicted bison use highlights areas to focus further management and conduct vegetation surveys to ensure grazing is resulting in increased plant diversity and species richness.

© 2022 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Julia C. Brockman, Clayton K. Nielsen, and Jeffery W. Walk "Influences of Land Cover, Fire, and Human Activity on Bison Habitat Selection in Restored Grasslands," Rangeland Ecology and Management 84(1), 45-53, (20 September 2022).
Received: 18 October 2021; Accepted: 20 May 2022; Published: 20 September 2022
grazing management
habitat selection
human disturbance
prairie restoration
prescribed fire
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