Vegetative and Invertebrate Community Characteristics of Conservation Reserve Program Fields Relative to Gamebirds in Western Kansas
We examined vegetation and invertebrate characteristics, including insect biomass, insect-prey, six Families and seven Orders in four varieties of Conservation Reserve Program (CP10, improved CP10, CP2 and CP25) and wheat fields in western Kansas during Jun. and Jul., 2004 and 2005 relative to gamebird chick ecology. CP10 fields had less bare ground and forbs compared to the other Conservation Practices and CP25 fields had lost much of their original forb component by the end of the study. Although there was little forb component, CP10 fields had high invertebrate biomass. However, CP10 fields demonstrated sizeable declines in the estimated effect size of examined invertebrate characteristics between sampling periods unlike the other mixes. Unharvested wheat (Triticum aestivum), CP10 and improved CP10 fields had the greatest number of insect-prey. Overall, most fields had adequate insect-prey availability suggesting that in terms of insect availability for gamebird chicks, these fields provide excellent brood feeding opportunities, therefore accessibility and other issues might be more important in determining habitat ‘‘quality’’ for gamebird chicks.