Date of this Version
Great Plains Research 21 (Spring 2011):95-103
Over the past century, the interactions between agricultural land use and government cropland retirement programs have affected pheasant population change. Two government land retirement programs that returned croplands to grasslands, Soil Bank in the 1960s and the current Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), help to illustrate these connections. From 2007 to 2010, South Dakota lost 41% of its CRP lands and experienced an 18% decline in pheasants per mile. However, because of where CRP expirations have occurred and where pheasant populations are found, some regional variability is seen. Western South Dakota (Region 1) had an 80% increase in pheasants per mile and a 51% decrease in CRP land, while central South Dakota (Region 2) had a 22% increase in pheasants per mile and a 42% decrease in CRP land. Region 3 saw a 51% decrease in pheasants per mile and a 25% decrease in CRP land, and Region 4 had a 45% decrease in both pheasants per mile and land in the CRP. These differences are explained by regional land use and land cover, the extent to which row crop agriculture dominates each region, and the variability in the abundance of pheasants found in each region.
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