U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Human–Wildlife Conflicts 1(2):205–213, Fall 2007.


Management programs aimed at reducing wildlife damage to row crops rely on information concerning the spatial nature of wildlife damage at local and landscape scales. In this study we explored spatial patterns of wildlife damage within individual corn and soybean fields by describing relationships between specific locations where wildlife damage was recorded and distances from such locations to various habitat types that presumably influenced animal abundance and movements in our study area. Using stratified random sampling, we conducted depredation surveys of 100 corn fields and 60 soybean fields from May through October both in 2003 and 2004 and recorded the specific global positioning satellite (GPS) coordinates of wildlife damage to individual corn and soybean plants. We then generated random point locations in the same fields using a geographic information system (GIS) and evaluated whether damage point locations and random point locations differed with respect to distances to the nearest patches of forest, developed area, or grassland and shrubland habitats. For both crop types, damage point locations were significantly closer to forest patches than were random point locations, but farther from developed areas than random point locations. Logistic regression analyses further indicated that distance to forest influenced the probability of wildlife damage within fields, although pseudo r2 values of the best models were low (0.15). Our results clearly indicated that field portions that were nearest to forested habitats were more likely to suffer wildlife damage than field portions farther from forested habitats. We suggest that targeted removals of depredating species, concentrated along crop-forest interfaces, may be an effective, cost-effective means of reducing corn and soybean damage in areas where wildlife damage is especially problematic.