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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Susan Rupp


. The objectives of this project were to- (1) determine the ethanol production capability of established warm-season grass stands, (2) compare moisture concentrations and biofuel quality from spring and fall harvest plots, (3) compare the effects of a high- and low-intensity harvest on biomass yield (4) determine the effect of a stubble height (high-intensity, low-intensity, and a “no harvest” control) on nesting success of economically important bird species, (5) determine how vegetative structure and composition affect nesting success and diversity of economically important bird species in southeastern South Dakota. This study utilized a randomized block design with 3 haying intensities (10-cm stubble, 30-cm stubble, and a no-harvest control). These haying treatments were replicated in four blocks spread across southeast South Dakota. Each block contained 5 approximately 16-ha treatment sites with 2 sites harvested at 10 cm, two sites harvested at 30 cm, and one no-harvest control with fields being harvested in the fall of 2008 and 2009. Vegetation was sampled along transects in the fall and spring of the year from the fall of 2008 to the spring of 2010. Game-bird nests were located in the summer of 2009 and 2010 via a complete survey of plots by chain-dragging fields with All-Terrain Vehicles. Total biomass yield was nearly 50% higher (F1,7.25 =13.97, P=0.0068) with the high-intensity harvest (3.5577 Mg ha-1 ± 0.6519) when compared to the low intensity harvest (1.9187 Mg ha-1 ± 0.6519). Moisture concentrations decreased over winter in both years falling 8.67% over-winter in year 1 (F1,18=11.48, P=0.0033) and falling 5.49% over-winter in year 2 (F1,20=10.56, P=0.0040). Theoretical ethanol yield (TEY) results were ambiguous in year 1 (F1,8=4.66; P=0.063) and year 2 (F1,8=2.26; P=0.171). Year one harvested fields produced a higher average predicted TEY (F1,8=32.62; P=0.0004) in comparison to year two fields. In year one, spring and fall combined TEY was 409.09±14.21 L Mg-1, while in year two spring and fall combined TEY was 365.98±8.32 L Mg-1. Field level vegetation species richness had a positive relationship with nest density (F1,11=5.76; P=0.035), nest richness (F1,11=5.56; P=0.038), and Shannon- Weiner diversity index (F1,11=5.60; 0.038). When vegetation species richness in 2010 was held constant across treatments as 12.2, there was a significant difference between haying treatments for all nest densities (F2,11=7.37; P=0.009), nest richness (F2,11=6.94; P=0.011) and Shannon-Weiner diversity index (F2,11=7.16; P=0.010). Nest densities were higher in control plots when compared to high-intensity harvest (F2,11=9.80; P=0.010). Nest richness values were higher in control plots when compared to high-intensity (F2,11=11.35; P=0.006) and low-intensity (F2,11=6.60; 0.026) harvest. Shannon-Weiner diversity indices followed a similar trend with control plots being higher than high intensity (F2,11=11.29; P=0.006) and low-intensity (F2,11=5.76; 0.036) harvested plots. A comparison of haying treatments in 2010 showed that mallards nesting in control plots initiated nests over a month earlier than mallards nesting in hayed plots (F1,5=8.44; P=0.03). Nest success was analyzed with Program MARK and there were two models that best fit the data. The highest ranked model, with an AIC weight of 0.22, included the variable “visual obstruction reading at the nest site” (β=-0.017, SE=0.009). The next best model, with an AIC weight of 0.11, included the variable “nest initiation date” (β=-0.009, SE=0.006). Both variables, visual obstruction reading at the nest and nest initiation date had a negative association with DSR for all duck nests.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Cellulosic ethanol
Biomass energy
Energy crops--Economic aspects
Game and game-birds -- Nests


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright 2011 John Joshua Bender. All rights reserved.