Crop, native vegetation, and biofuels: Response of white-tailed deer to changing management priorities

William David Walter, Kurt C. Vercauteren, Jason M. Gilsdorf, Scott E. Hygnstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The expansion of the cellulosic biofuels industry throughout the United States has broad-scale implications for wildlife management on public and private lands. Knowledge is limited on the effects of reverting agriculture to native grass, and vice versa, on size of home range and habitat use of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). We followed 68 radiocollared female deer from 1991 through 2004 that were residents of DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge (DNWR) in eastern Nebraska, USA. The refuge was undergoing conversion of vegetation out of row-crop agriculture and into native grass, forest, and emergent aquatic vegetation. Habitat in DNWR consisted of 30 crop in 1991 but removing crops to establish native grass and wetland habitat at DNWR resulted in a 44 reduction in crops by 2004. A decrease in the amount of crops on DNWR contributed to a decline in mean size of annual home range from 400 ha in 1991 to 200 ha in 2005 but percentage of crops in home ranges increased from 21 to 29. Mean overlap for individuals was 77 between consecutive annual home ranges across 8 years, regardless of crop availability. Conversion of crop to native habitat will not likely result in home range abandonment but may impact disease transmission by increasing rates of contact between deer social groups that occupy adjacent areas. Future research on condition indices or changes in population parameters (e.g., recruitment) could be incorporated into the study design to assess impacts of habitat conversion for biofuel production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-344
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Volume73
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009

Fingerprint

Odocoileus virginianus
biofuels
biofuel
deer
home range
crop
vegetation
refuge
crops
conservation areas
habitats
grasses
grass
habitat
bioenergy industry
agriculture
private lands
public lands
crop year
wildlife management

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Cite this

Walter, William David ; Vercauteren, Kurt C. ; Gilsdorf, Jason M. ; Hygnstrom, Scott E. / Crop, native vegetation, and biofuels : Response of white-tailed deer to changing management priorities. In: Journal of Wildlife Management. 2009 ; Vol. 73, No. 3. pp. 339-344.
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Crop, native vegetation, and biofuels : Response of white-tailed deer to changing management priorities. / Walter, William David; Vercauteren, Kurt C.; Gilsdorf, Jason M.; Hygnstrom, Scott E.

In: Journal of Wildlife Management, Vol. 73, No. 3, 01.04.2009, p. 339-344.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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