Regional land cover patterns, changes and potential relationships with scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) abundance Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • © 2015 The Ecological Society of Korea. All rights are reserved. A dramatic decline in the abundance of the scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) has been observed across most of its geographic range. In order to evaluate the influence of land cover patterns and their changes on scaled quail abundance, we examined landscape patterns and their changes from the 1970s to the1990s in two large ecoregions with contrasting population trends: (1) the Rolling Plains ecoregion with a significantly decreased scaled quail population and (2) the South Texas Plains ecoregion with a relatively stable scaled quail population. The National Land Cover Database (NLCD) and the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Land Use/Land Cover data were used to quantify landscape patterns and their changes based on 80 randomly located 20×20 km2 windows in each of the ecoregions. We found that landscapes in the Rolling Plains and the South Texas Plains were considerably different in composition and spatial characteristics related to scaled quail habitats. The landscapes in the South Texas Plains had significantly more shrubland and less grassland-herbaceous rangeland; and except for shrublands, they were more fragmented, with greater interspersion among land cover classes. Correlation analysis between the landscape metrics and the quail-abundance-survey data showed that shrublands appeared to be more important for scaled quail in the South Texas Plains, while grassland-herbaceous range-lands and pasture-croplands were essential to scaled quail habitats in the Rolling Plains. The decrease in the amount of grassland-herbaceous rangeland and spatial aggregation of pasture-croplands has likely contributed to the population decline of scaled quails in the Rolling Plains ecoregion.

author list (cited authors)

  • Rho, P., Wu, X. B., Smeins, F. E., Silvy, N. J., & Peterson, M. J.

citation count

  • 4

publication date

  • May 2015