Summer Meleagris gallopavo silvestris use of a landscape dominated by agriculture and Pinus spp. plantations

John J. Morgan, Sara H. Schweitzer, John P. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Meleagris gallopavo silvestris (Eastern Wild Turkey) habitat was altered in the Southeast by the introduction of Pinus spp. plantations to agricultural areas through the Conservation Reserve Program. However, the preponderance of M. gallopavo silvestris research has focused on extensive Pinus spp. plantations that lack the cover-type diversity that typifies the Southeast. From May-July 1998 and 1999, we monitored 36 radio-tagged M. gallopavo silvestris in Burke County, GA to investigate habitat use in landscapes intensively managed for agriculture and silviculture. We used compositional analysis to identify habitats selected by male and female M. gallopavo silvestris during summers. Proportions of habitat types within the home range were different from habitats at radio-locations of males and females. Hardwood stands and fields were the most-selected habitat types by M. gallopavo silvestris in the summer. However, within home ranges, males and females also selected closed-canopy Pinus spp. habitats. Hens with broods did not preferentially select planted Pinus spp. habitats, but their use of Pinus spp. stands was greater than use of agricultural fields. The replacement of agricultural fields by closed-canopy Pinus spp. plantations may have improved habitat quality for M. gallopavo silvestris in some areas of the Southeast by diversifying the landscape. Our results suggest that closed-canopy planted Pinus spp. cover types are not detrimental to M. gallopavo silvestris when well distributed with fields and mature hardwood drains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-648
Number of pages12
JournalSoutheastern Naturalist
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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