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National Quail Symposium Proceedings

Abstract

During the last few decades of the 20th century, changing and intensifying human uses of land converted and rendered unsuitable hundreds of millions of acres of northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) habitats, resulting in a long-term population decline of 3.8% per year across the Southeast. During that period, bobwhite conservation efforts were largely ineffectual. Following the success of other national bird conservation initiatives, the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) in 1998 charged its technical arm, the Southeast Quail Study Group (SEQSG) to develop a regional, habitat-based bobwhite recovery plan with population goals and habitat objectives. The Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) was published in March 2002, as the first-ever ecosystem-based regional management plan for a resident game bird in the U.S. The NBCI catalyzed immediate major successes in conservation policy, priority, energy and actions, such as the new ”Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds” practice in the Conservation Reserve Program. The NBCI also stimulated unprecedented unity of purpose and collective will across the bobwhite community, under the leadership of the SEQSG. A thorough revision of the NBCI already is in progress, coordinated by Tall Timbers Research Station.

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