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Research Priorities

Quail Eggs

Proposals submitted for consideration for funding will be evaluated with regard to the conceptual framework (breadth, scope, focus, and experimental design) under which the proposed research is to be conducted and the ecological context in which the work will be carried out.

Conceptual Context

  (ranked in priority order)

  1. Projects that evaluate large scale habitat/population restoration initiatives that employ state and federal conservation programs to achieve habitat changes
    1. For example: State-, BCR, or Focal area-level implementation of NBCI.
  2. Projects that evaluate specific NRCS conservation practices used as part of a resource management system in conservation planning.
    1. For example: Practices from list of resource concerns and solutions in NBCI pages 59-82 (including but not limited to the following examples)
      • Field borders
      • Mid-contract recurring practices
      • Exotic grass conversion to Native Warm Season Grasses
      • Forest management regimes (i.e. thinning, prescribed fire, herbicidal control of invasive hardwoods, savanna restoration)
      • Rangeland management regimes (exotic control, brush management)
  3. Projects that evaluate specific elements of NBCI (assumptions, implementation, efficacy).
    1. For example: NBCI assumes that the recommended landscape changes, stepped down to some sub-state spatial scale (focal areas) will in fact alter bobwhite trajectory
    2. For example: NBCI assumes that 4 acres of native grassland will produce 1 covey of birds in the fall.
Note: Funding priority will be given to evaluations of resource management systems (multiple NRCS conservation practices) replicated across multiple BCRs/states and priority will be given to evaluation of multiple resource concerns (e.g. bobwhite and early successional songbird response, water quality, soil quality, herbicide retention).

Ecological Context

Within each ecological system (major land use) the NBCI identifies specific resource issues and appropriate management practices (pages 59 -82). Projects that evaluate efficacy of these practices, develop or refine innovative application of these practices, or quantify relationships between intensity of management and population response may be appropriate. Following are specific examples of major land use-specific resource management issues of potential interest (unranked list):

Pasture/Grassland/Rangeland

  • Exotic forage grass eradication (herbicide efficacy, technology)
  • Native Warm Season Grass restoration
  • Habitat value of various NWSG species
  • Native prairie grazing management
  • NWSG forage quality
  • Recurring management practices on idle (including CRP) grasslands
  • Savanna restoration
  • Native prairie restoration
  • Prescribed fire management (scale and frequency of burns)
  • Effects of patch size and configuration on habitat quality/population viability.
  • Grazing management (relationships between intensity/habitat quality)
  • Eradication of exotics
  • Brush management

Rowcrop Agriculture

  • Wildlife habitat value of field borders (plant materials, width, % of landscape)
  • Buffer practices (wildlife habitat value, water quality, soil erosion, and herbicide retention of native plant materials)
  • Notill/conservation tillage
  • Genetically modified crop herbicide regimes
  • Flex falloww

Pine Forest

  • Relationships among stocking density, canopy cover, basal area, ground cover and habitat quality
  • Mid-rotation pine plantation thinning regimes
  • Recurring management regimes (disking, fire, selective herbicide)
  • Site preparation methods and habitat quality
  • Dispersal, colonization, and extinction of populations in forested landscapes
  • Effects of intensive herbicide regimes
  • Effects of scale and frequency of prescribed burn units on habitat quality/population performance
  • Oak and pine savanna restoration