Plant Microevolution and Conservation in Human Influence Ecosystems
'Listing cannot come soon enough for the lesser prairie-chicken,' said Taylor Jones, Endangered Species Advocate for WildEarth Guardians. 'Threats are increasing, the species' range is contracting, and current conservation efforts are too little, too late to conserve the species. ' According to a statement from WildEarth Guardians, the lesser prairie-chicken is a medium-sized, gray-brown grouse. The species inhabits shinnery oak and sand sagebrush grasslands in parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Since the early 1800's, the Southern Great Plains habitat of this key species has been reduced by 90 %, which has been instrumental in an 85% decline of the grouse's population. 'The lesser prairie-chicken will disappear forever without
protection of the Endangered Species Act,' said Jay Lininger, an ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. 'Voluntary measures that preserve a little habitat are convenient for some, but they won't be effective for the prairie-chicken. ' The lesser prairie-chicken is threatened by habitat loss and degradation from livestock grazing, agriculture, oil and gas extraction, herbicides and unnatural fire as primary threats to the lesser prairie-chicken. Habitat fragmentation from fences, power lines,
together with disturbances from roads, mining, and wind energy production also affect the species. Climate change and drought are increasingly important threats. The potential loss of habitat on private land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program may have severely negative effects on current populations.