Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Natural Resource Ecology and Management

First Advisor

James R. Miller

Second Advisor

Rolf R. Koford


Patch-burn grazing (PBG) is a management practice intended to benefit grassland-dependent wildlife. This practice relies on a fire-grazing interaction to create a habitat mosaic that is heterogeneous in terms of structure and composition, mimicking historic conditions. To assess effects of this, we studied nesting and postfledging survival of Grasshopper Sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum), in pastures under two treatments: PBG (grazed, 1/3 burned annually) or graze-and-burned (grazed, entire pasture burned every third year).The study was conducted in Ringgold County, Iowa, on public and private lands. We found 332 Grasshopper Sparrow nests in 2008 and 2009. In 2009 we attached 50 transmitters to randomly selected nestlings one day prior to fledging. We found that nests in graze-only pastures had a daily survival rate (DSR) of 0.90 (SEy 0.01), and nests found in PBG pastures had a DSR of 0.92 (SEy 0.007). Postfledging survival across treatments was low, with 10 chicks surviving >14 days. Mortality rates were highest within three days of fledging (>48%). We would caution against assessing management with nest survival alone due to high rates of mortality during the postfledging stage.


Copyright Owner

Torre James Hovick



Date Available


File Format


File Size

79 pages