Goals1. Evaluate the effects of conservation activities;
2. Prioritize research and monitor activities;
3. Develop innovative programs to improve the ability to inventory and monitor at-risk species;
4. Develop theoretical and empirical techniques that facilitate the integration of research and monitoring into the management programs of at-risk, non-game species, including consideration of the complex trade-offs between social, economic, and biological factors that may facilitate and constrain effective wildlife management.
The project will investigate aspects of invasive woody plant management in the Niobrara River Valley in northern Nebraska. Species of interest include eastern red cedar, Russian olive, and common buckthorn. The current status of these species in the valley will be quantified and models reconstructing their invasion and establishment within the valley will be developed to identify vectors and barriers to invasion. Landowner perceptions of woody plant invasions and attitudes toward management techniques will be surveyed to determine the effectiveness of landscape management options. The effects of woody plant removal on vegetation and soil hydrology will be quantified to determine the effectiveness of removal techniques to improve ecosystem health and function. Finally, the results of this study will be used to develop an adaptive plan for management of invasive woody plants in the Niobrara River Valley. Fieldwork began in spring 2012 and will continue through fall 2014.