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Data from: Impacts of biomass production at civil airports on grassland bird conservation and aviation strike risk

Citation

Conkling, Tara J.; Belant, Jerrold L.; DeVault, Travis L.; Martin, James A. (2018), Data from: Impacts of biomass production at civil airports on grassland bird conservation and aviation strike risk, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.k44303c

Abstract

Growing concerns about climate change, foreign oil dependency, and environmental quality have fostered interest in perennial native grasses (e.g. switchgrass [Panicum virgatum]) for bioenergy production while also maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem function. However, biomass cultivation in marginal landscapes such as airport grasslands may have detrimental effects on aviation safety as well as conservation efforts for grassland birds. In 2011–2013 we investigated effects of vegetation composition and harvest frequency on seasonal species richness and habitat use of grassland birds and modeled relative abundance, aviation risk, and conservation value of birds associated with biomass crops. Avian relative abundance was greater in switchgrass monoculture plots during the winter months, whereas Native Warm-Season Grass (NWSG) mixed species plantings were favored by species during the breeding season. Conversely, treatment differences in aviation risk and conservation value were not biologically significant. Only 2.6% of observations included avian species of high hazard to aircraft, providing support for semi-natural grasslands as a feasible landcover option at civil airports. Additionally, varied harvest frequencies across a mosaic of switchgrass monocultures and NWSG plots allows for biomass production with multiple vegetation structure options for grassland birds to increase seasonal avian biodiversity and habitat use.

Usage Notes

Location

Mississippi
Southeastern United States