Off-campus South Dakota State University users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your South Dakota State University ID and password.

Non-South Dakota State University users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Lester D. Flake


Characteristics of habitat mosaics and key landscape components in areas occupied by stable or expanding and marginal wild turkey (Meleagris gallapavo) populations in the prairie woodland regions of central and eastern South Dakota were identified and compared to 3 areas along the Big Sioux and James rivers that may have potential to support wild turkey populations, but are currently lacking turkeys. Tree species diversity was greatest in deciduous forests of northeastern South Dakota which included Roberts, Marshall, and Jerauld counties. The means of nineteen landscape and forest characteristic variables were compared among the most forested quarter ("best quarter") (84. 2 1 ha) of each sample plot and the total (333.62 ha) sample plot from each geographic region (n = 8). Area and perimeter of forest in the southcentral woodlands region, currently supporting stable or expanding wild turkey populations, were greater than all other regions. The percent cover of forest in the most forested quarter varied from 44. 7% in the southcentral woodlands region to 7.8% on the western tributaries such as Medicine and Plum creeks. In regions inhabited by wild turkeys, cropland cover in the most forested quarter ranged from 2.5% in the northeastern woodlands region to 46% in the eastern riparian region; grassland ranged from 15. 5% in the eastern riparian region to 73. 9% on the western tributaries. Sites in the western tributary region, with stable or expanding populations of wild turkeys, had less forest cover than any other region, including potential introduction areas on the Big Sioux and James rivers. Based on habitat characteristics, potential introduction sites along the Big Sioux and James rivers could support a marginal population of wild turkeys. However, because of the high human densities along these rivers hybridization with domestic turkeys and dependence on farmsteads may pose problems.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Wild turkey -- Habitat -- South Dakota
Forests and forestry -- South Dakota
Forest surveys -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (page 58-64)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1990 Patricia M. Knupp. All rights reserved.