Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Nebraska
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Nebraska Project

Understanding landscape constraints on local management decisions

January 2010 - December 2013


Participating Agencies

  • Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Throughout the Great Plains the structure and function of grassland and farmland wildlife communities are increasingly threatened by urbanization and the intensification of agricultural production. Even in areas managed exclusively for wildlife, responses to habitat enhancement is often less than predicted and less than desired by managers and the public. Given the incredible costs of wildlife enhancement projects, understanding why populations and communities fail to respond to apparently suitable habitat improvements is imperative to not only sustaining wildlife populations, but ensuring public support for wildlife programs. Traditionally, assessment of wildlife population responses to habitat improvements are focused on local habitat attributes; however, as habitats are increasingly isolated it is becoming obvious that factors beyond local vegetation and resource distribution may play a role in where species are located or the productivity of local populations. We are working to examine how the availability of suitable habitat across a landscape constrains or facilitates local population responses to grassland bird habitat enhancement programs. To this end we are developing models that relate the distribution and abundance of grassland birds to the availability and suitability of habitats across various spatial scales. By understanding how multi-scalar landscape parameters influence local populations we can betters understand how to successfully manage species and appropriate research, monitoring and management efforts. This research will assist managers and conservation professionals within federal, state, and nongovernmental organizations concerned with the management of grassland communities and protecting grassland bird species.

Research Publications Publication Date
Jorgensen, C.F., R.J. Stutzman, L. Anderson, S. Decker, L.A. Powell, and J.J. Fontaine. 2013. Choosing a DIVA: a comparison of emerging digital imagery vegetation analysis techniques. Applied Vegetation Science 16:552-560. Doi: 10.1111/avsc.12037 | Download December 2013
Jorgensen, C.F., L.A. Powell, J.J. Lusk, A.A. Bishop and J.J. Fontaine. 2014. Assessing landscape constraints on species abundance: Does the neighborhood limit species response to local habitat conservation programs? Plos One 9:e99339. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099339 | Abstract May 2014
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Jorgensen, C.F. 2012. Assessing Local and Landscape Constraints on Habitat Management for Grassland and Upland Birds.M.S. Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln December 2012