Ascertaining estimates of wildlife population size is valuable information for natural resource agencies in the management of harvested and non-harvested species (Rabe et al. 2002). Acquiring precise and unbiased estimates of population size requires either a complete census or probabilistic sample of subunits with which to infer population size (Johnson 2002); however, limited funding and staffing have often precluded implementation of these sampling designs. The result has been the development of population indices to monitor population trends or to estimate a minimum population size. The limitation of such data is the unknown relationship to population size. Further, it must be assumed that population indices track population dynamics (McKelvey and Pearson 2001). These assumptions can be problematic when knowing the population size is critical to decision makers either in the context of harvest or population recovery of sensitive species.
Our objectives were to implement consistent, statistically robust survey and analysis methods to estimate lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus; LPC) population size from 2012 to 2018, 2020, and 2021. To achieve this, we addressed issues of regional variation as well as the co-occurrence of greater prairie-chicken (T. cupido; GPC) and of hybrid prairie-chickens (HPC) in northwestern Kansas. We estimated LPC abundance for four ecoregions: 1) Shinnery Oak Prairie Region (SOPR), located in eastern New Mexico and the southwest Texas Panhandle, 2) Sand Sagebrush Prairie Region (SSPR), located in southeastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas, and the western Oklahoma Panhandle, 3) Mixed-Grass Prairie Region (MGPR), located in the northeastern Texas Panhandle, north-western Oklahoma, and south-central Kansas, and 4) Short Grass Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Prairie Region (SGPR), located in northwestern Kansas.
|FINAL 2021 LEPC Range Wide Report 20210825.pdf||Download|
- File Type pdf
- File Size 1.56 MB
- Publication Date August 25, 2021
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