Grassland Bird Use of Hayed and Non-Hayed Conservation Reserve Program Fields in Johnson County, Missouri
McCallum, Jamie L.
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The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was established by the Food Security Act of 1985. It was designed to control soil erosion, improve ground and surface water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on highly erodible or environmentally sensitive land. Researchers have found higher grassland bird abundance and breeding bird richness in CRP fields when compared to row-crop fields. CRP fields can also act as a source habitat for some species in Missouri. Haying CRP fields can adversely affect some species, but can be beneficial in some cases. The Farm Services Agency (FSA) allowed Missouri farmers to hay qualifying CRP fields in 2012 due to drought. This opportunity allowed me to investigate whether the emergency haying of CRP fields influenced grassland birds. There was no significant difference in species richness, species diversity, or individual species abundance between hayed and non-hayed CRP fields.