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Multi-targeted management of upland game birds at the agroecosystem interface in Midwestern North America

Citation

Douglas, Marlis R et al. (2020), Multi-targeted management of upland game birds at the agroecosystem interface in Midwestern North America, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0cfxpnvz9

Abstract

Despite its imperative, biodiversity conservation is chronically underfunded, a deficiency that often forces management agencies to prioritize. Single-species recovery thus becomes a focus (often with socio-political implications), whereas a more economical approach would be the transition to multi-targeted management (=MTM). This challenge is best represented in Midwestern North America where biodiversity has been impacted by 300+ years of "chronic anthropogenic disturbance" such that native tall-grass prairie is now supplanted by an agroecosystem. Here, we develop an MTM with a population genetic metric to collaboratively manage three Illinois upland gamebirds: common pheasant ( Phasianus colchicus; pheasant), northern bobwhite quail ( Colinus virginianus ; quail), and threatened-endangered (T&E) greater prairie chicken ( Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus ; prairie chicken). We first genotyped our study pheasant at 19 microsatellite DNA loci and identified three captive breeding stocks (N=143; IL Department of Natural Resources) as being significantly bottlenecked, with relatedness >1 st -cousin (µR=0.158). 'Wild' (non-stocked) pheasant [N=543; 14 Pheasant-Habitat-Areas (PHAs)] were also bottlenecked, significantly interrelated (µR=0.150), yet distinct from propagation stock. PHAs were themselves significantly differentiated (µ F ST =0.047), with larger areas reflecting greater effective population sizes (µ N E =43; P<0.007). We juxtaposed these data against previously published results for prairie chicken and quail, and found population genetic structure driven by drift, habitat/climate impacts, and gender-biased selection via hunter-harvest. Each species (hunter-harvested or T&E) is independently managed, yet their composite population genetic baseline provides the quantitative criteria needed for an upland game bird MTM. Its implementation would require agricultural plots to be rehabilitated/reclaimed using a land-sharing/sparing portfolio that differs markedly from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), where sequestered land decreases as agricultural prices escalate. Cost-savings for an MTM would accrue by synchronizing single-species management with a dwindling hunter-harvest program, and by eliminating propagation/stocking programs. This would sustain not only native grasslands and their resident species, but also accelerate conservation at the wildlife-agroecosystem interface.

Methods

<PHE_data_msat_dryad.csv> genotypes for 686 samples (sample_id) from 17 populations (pop_id) across 19 microsatellite DNA loci

<PHE_coordinates.csv> GPS coordinates for 14 PHAs (=Pheasant Habitat Areas)

Usage Notes

missing value = 0

Funding

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration, Award: W-155-R

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration, Award: W-155-R