Rural land uses of Scott County, Missouri : landowner decisions and bird communities
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] With the vast majority of Missouri under private ownership, private landowners have a large spatial impact on the landscape and the resulting biotic communities. Land management decisions are influenced by landowner values, sociodemographic, and property characteristics. This research was conducted to better understand the bird communities, vegetation structure, landowner values, current management practices and potential practice modifications that may be conducted due to climate change of rural southeast Missouri. Specifically, how do these compare and what vegetation characteristics predict the bird communities across three common land uses: agricultural fields, grassland habitat patches of conservation programs, and residential yards within the agricultural landscape of Scott County, Missouri. Bird counts and vegetation surveys showed that the bird communities differed between land uses and revealed the importance of small habitats for bird species. Questionnaires and focus group discussions showed that income and time were valued by landowners, but wildlife and soil/water conservation were also important factors in land management decisions. The results illustrate how landowner values and land use affects the diverse biotic communities in these rural locations.
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