US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 104 (2004) 577–585; doi:10.1016/j.agee.2004.01.026


Structure and composition of vegetation and abundance of breeding birds in grasslands seeded to Old World bluestem (Bothriochloa ischmaeum) were compared to native mixed prairie in the southern Great Plains of North America. Abundance of birds was determined using fixed-radius point counts. Detrended correspondence analysis was used to compare plant community composition and canonical correspondence analysis was used to examine the relationships between plant species composition and vegetation structure with the bird community. Plant species composition differed distinctly between seeded grassland and native mixed prairie, but the differences were not reflected in habitat structure, bird community composition, or abundance of bird species. Seeded grassland was inferior to native mixed prairie in terms of diversity of plant species, but that difference did not translate into meaningful differences in structure that drove habitat selection by breeding birds. Conservation programs that promote establishment of seeded grassland and do not allow for suitable disturbance regimes will selectively benefit a narrow suite of birds regardless of plant species composition.