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Funded Projects

Evaluation of the USDA Farm Bill Conservation Practices for Wildlife

Conservation provisions under the USDA Farm Bill program have a tremendous potential to improve wildlife habitat, especially across the South, since the majority of the region is owned by private farm and forest landowners. However, this potential can only be reached if guidelines for establishing and maintaining conservation practices provide the greatest benefit for wildlife. These practices, and their impacts on wildlife habitat, should be understood by NRCS personnel and natural resource professionals so that the most appropriate recommendations can be made to landowners. In addition, landowners must also be willing to adopt and implement practice on their lands.

This project proposes to evaluate the current conservation practices for wildlife under the USDA Farm Bill and make recommendations for improving these practices for wildlife, especially bobwhite quail on Clemson Universityís Pee Dee Research and Education Center outside of Florence, SC. These practices include, but are not limited to 1) agricultural filter strips, 2) hedgerow plantings, 3) field borders, 4) native warm season grasses (NWSG), 5) forest stand improvements, 6) forest openings, 7) riparian forest buffers, and 8) prescribed burning. Practices (treatments) will be evaluated based upon response of vegetation (diversity and structure) over time and response of wildlife (herpetofauna, avifauna, and small mammal). Factors that determine adoption of wildlife conservation practices by landowners will also be determined to gain a better understanding of how to increase landowner enrollment in Farm Bill programs for wildlife. An outreach component will also be a portion of the project to include workshops for NRCS personnel and landowners, and dissemination of results and recommendations through publications and web-based formats.

Greg K. Yarrow
Department of Forestry & Natural Resources
Clemson University
Clemson, SC 29634

Phone: (864) 656-7370

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