Wildlife Population Dynamics : Pheasant
Landscape Ecology

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Prior to the bobcats students and I worked with biologists from the IDNR collecting field data on movements and survival of radio-telemetered pheasants, that eventually resulted in spatially-explicit models of populations.  We have developed a detailed understanding of how each part of the life history is influenced by the interactions between the landscape features and factors such as weather and predators. For example, we have projected nest success of hens on a map on the basis of habitat and landscape variables, and can now visualize how habitat configuration spatially affects nest success. We have great technical support from the GIS lab at Iowa State.


pheasant chicks

We studied mortality among newly hatched chicks.  Eventually we combined all the data on pheasants into an individual-based, spatially explicit simulation model. This allowed us to simulate movements and population dynamics of pheasants in different landscapes. We have examined population responses in relation to changes in the landscape with the CRP program, and we have mapped the landscape under the buffer initiative. We have written a brief summary of this work for the NRCS. The research is helping land managers from federal and state land management agencies to consider the consequences of alternative Conservation Reserve policy. We have also linked large-scale landscape changes that are measured by the National Resources Inventory to pheasant population trends that we modeled. You can view a popularized summary of the research that was prepared for Pheasant Forever conventions, or examine my list of research publications to find technical papers about this research and similar approaches to modeling waterfowl populations.

Update 08/09/2011