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Species as conservation umbrellas: a case study with lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) in the southern Great Plains of North America

Cite this dataset

Griffis-Kyle, Kerry; McIntyre, Nancy; Gary, Demi; Mougey, Krista (2022). Species as conservation umbrellas: a case study with lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) in the southern Great Plains of North America [Dataset]. Dryad.


Qualitative index of conservation benefit conferred by management for the lesser prairie chicken on non-target at-risk wildlife species.


We provide a data set of qualitative indices of estimated conservation benefit for non-target at risk species based on published literature from habitat management for the lesser prairie-chicken. We conducted a literature search on 77 species of greatest conservation need that overlapped with the lesser prairie chicken range as defined by the Lesser Prairie-chicken Working Group (Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; Ranges of non-target species were based on digital range files from the USGS Gap Analysis program ( and confirmed using citizen science records from iNaturalist (, California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic) and eBird (, Cornell Lab or Ornithology).

 We conducted a literature search for each species and each of the main habitat management treatments for the lesser prairie chickens including: (1) planting native grasses, (2) mesquite and eastern red cedar removal, (3) prescribed fire, (4) a reduction in infrastructure associated with restoration of old well sites and co-location of new infrastructure on already impacted land, and (5) a reduced human disturbance during lekking season and concentrating activities in already impacted areas (Hagen et al., 2004; van Pelt et al., 2013). We followed Tawfik and others (2019), accessing information from the Cornell Ornithological Lab ( and from published literature indexed in Web of Science and Google Scholar as well as the literature cited sections of the papers we reviewed. Search terms included the species common name or scientific name (current and past) alone and in combination with the terms native grass, fire, mesquite, red cedar, shrub, energy industry, industry, disturbance. Sometimes the needed information was contained in papers on wildlife assemblages, so we scanned results sections for target species. If available, we first used papers from the same region as our study area; if there were no studies from our study region, we used literature from other grassland regions. In the case of conflicting results among papers, we based conservation outcome on a preponderance of evidence. If information on a species by management action was not available, we made the following assumptions depending on life history or taxa: (1) grassland specialists would benefit from planting native grasses, as native grasslands support more species (O’Connell et al., 2013), (2) forest, woodland, and shrubland birds were assumed to react negatively to the removal of mesquite and eastern red cedar, (3) prescribe fire was inferred to have a positive effect on thermoregulatory opportunities for snakes (Steen et al., 2015), and foraging opportunities for bats (Goforth 2015).

 Based on the literature, we recorded each species’ expected response to each management actions as positive (1), negative (-1), or neutral (0) based on the expected effects on fitness, abundance, density, foraging resources, reproductive opportunities, or nesting structures, use or avoidance after treatment, ecological or physiological mechanism for the response, direct mortality from treatment. We confirmed these designations by consulting regional experts. The data file was independently reviewed by co-authors for logic and accuracy.


Goforth, N.D., 2015. Short-term effects of wildfire on bat activity on the Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico. Thesis Texas Tech University, Lubbock Texas. 

 Hagen, C.A., Jamison, B.E., Giesen, K.M., Riley, T.Z., 2004. Guidelines for managing lesser prairie-chicken populations and their habitats. Wildl. Soc. Bull. 32, 69-82.

O'Connell, T.J., Hickman K.R., Leslie D.M., 2013. Food availability in exotic grasslands: a potential mechanism for depauperate breeding assemblages. Wilson J. Ornith. 125, 526-533.

 Tawfik, G.M., Dila, K.A.S., Mohamed, M.Y.F., Tam D.N.H., Kien, N.D., Ahmed, A.M., Huy, N.T., 2019. A step by step guide for conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis with simulation data. Trop. Med. Health 47, 46.

 van Pelt, W.E., Kyle, S., Pitman, J., Klute, D., Beauprez, G., Schoeling, D., Janus, A., Haufler, J., 2013. The Lesser prairie-chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan. Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Cheyenne, Wyoming, Accessed 13 October 2020.


Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University