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An assessment of rangeland activities on wildlife populations and habitats [Chapter 6]

Krausman, Paul R.; Bleich, Vernon C.; Block, William M.; Naugle, David E.; Wallace, Mark C. 2011. An assessment of rangeland activities on wildlife populations and habitats [Chapter 6]. In: Briske, David D., ed. Conservation benefits of rangeland practices: Assessment, recommendations, and knowledge gaps. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. p. 253-290.

Numerous management practices are applied to rangelands in the western United States to enhance wildlife, including prescribed grazing, burning, brush management, mowing, fencing, land clearing, planting, and restoration to benefit soil and water. indeed, the natural resources conservation service (NRCS) lists 167 conservation practices ( technical/standards/nhcp.html). However, wildlife responses to conservation practices are usually species and even species-habitat specific, meaning not only that each species may respond differently to any specific practice but also that a single species may respond differently to the same practice in different vegetation associations or conditions. when managers apply conservation practices to the landscape, habitat is often altered, and managers should understand that the management will benefit some of the wildlife present but may be detrimental to others. conservation practices were designed to help ecosystem managers think about the variables that accompany any action on the landscape. each conservation practice has specific purposes that may influence related resource issues. For example, prescribed grazing by large herbivores can alter the structure and function of ecosystems that have direct and indirect effects on wildlife. Primary effects are often described in the literature (Mackie 2000), but there has not been an evaluation of how conservation practices affect wildlife on rangelands. however, practices like prescribed grazing are not a simple treatment but have widely divergent effects, depending on locale, timing, intensity, and species or combination of grazing animals (Briske et al. 2008). Similarly, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and bats represent very broad wildlife categories that may have diverse responses to various conservation practices. for example, focusing on rodentia includes species with such widely different habitat and life history strategies that responses within the group may differ diametrically when exposed to the same management practice. Furthermore, most of the studies that have examined how anthropogenic activities on rangelands influence wildlife have not classified the management activities involved according to the NRCS conservation practices. Thus, we refer to related conservation practices on rangelands that influence wildlife as rangeland activities.

Keywords: rangeland, wildlife populations, habitats

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: An assessment of rangeland activities on wildlife populations and habitats [Chapter 6]
Electronic Publish Date: October 22, 2013
Last Update:
October 22, 2013

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