Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Impacts of Agriculture on Pronghorn in the Texas Panhandle
by Opatz, Anthony P., M.S., Texas A&M University - Kingsville, 2020, 98; 27997643
Abstract (Summary)

Native pronghorn habitat across North America is being lost to agriculture and urban development at an alarming rate. Research is outdated or lacking on how these features impact pronghorn movements in Texas. I captured and collared 86 adult pronghorn in Dalhart and Pampa, Texas. I analyzed time based local convex hull home ranges and utilization distributions constructed using 431,176 GPS locations of pronghorn from 2017–2019. Roads, both paved and unpaved, were the greatest factors influencing home range establishment. Pronghorn inhabiting areas of high cultivation selected cultivated agriculture and areas of green, nutritious vegetation in rut and winter. Population level selection for a specific crop type was not detected, however, > 50% of males and > 64% of females utilized winter wheat. Depletion of water sources sustaining agriculture in the Texas Panhandle could lead to food availability issues for pronghorn in the future. While agriculture may temporarily sustain populations, it causes direct and indirect fragmentation and habitat loss across the landscape. When agricultural crops are lost from the landscape, populations of pronghorn will be left in a fragmented and nutritionally exhausted landscape. I recommend focusing policy on restoration and protection of native grasslands rather than temporary control of populations utilizing crops.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fulbright, Timothy
Commitee: DeYoung, Randy, Perotto-Baldivieso, Humberto, Conway, Warren, Gray, Shawn
School: Texas A&M University - Kingsville
Department: Animal and Wildlife Science
School Location: United States -- Texas
Source: MAI 81/12(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Wildlife Management, Agriculture
Keywords: Agriculture, Pronghorn, Resource selection, Texas
Publication Number: 27997643
ISBN: 9798641388335
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