Research in Wildlife Habitat Management


Photo Credit: M. Hooker

Spatially Explicit Population Estimation of the Louisiana Black Bear


Principal Investigators: Mr. Dustin Champagne, Dr. Joe Clark, & Dr. Heidi Adams

Status: Research in Progress

​The focus of this research is on Louisiana black bear population dynamics utilizing cluster sampling, and comparing the data we gain to the traditional grid sampling that has been done in subsequent years. Results of this research will be part of the framework for season setting and future management of the Louisiana black bear resource, once the delisting monitoring period has concluded.

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Photo Credit: H. Adams

Determining Patterns of Avian Herbivory Related to Loblolly and Longleaf Pine Seed Genetics


Principal Investigators: Ms. Kelsey Shoemaker, Dr. Paul Jackson, & Dr. Heidi Adams

Status: Research in Progress

Results from a recent survey indicated avian herbivory as the leading cause of seed loss in tree seedling container nurseries in the southern United States. Economic losses resulting from seed consumption, lower seedling sales, and wasted growing medium may exceed $150,000 with a 1% seed loss. Despite its prevalence, patterns in avian herbivory are currently not well defined. Observations by nursery staff may indicate that birds tend to forage more heavily on seedlots of higher genetic quality produced through tree improvement initiatives. Thus, the objective of this research is to determine if different levels of seed genetics impact consumption preferences


Photo Credit: C. Sharp

Avian Use of a Bottomland Hardwood Afforestation Site in the Red River Alluvial Valley


Principal Investigators: Mr. Colby Sharp & Dr. Heidi Adams

Status: Manuscript in Preparation

​Bottomland hardwood forests cover 2.8 million hectares of the original 10 million hectares that once existed in the southeastern United States. These losses led to an emphasis on afforestation of retired agricultural land. It is important to evaluate changes in wildlife communities as these stands progress through the different stages of succession. Our research goal was to evaluate the effectiveness of a 25-year old afforested BHF in the Red River Alluvial Valley in providing suitable habitat for migratory birds. This goal required data collection and analyses methods that may be duplicated to assess other afforested BHFs in the southeastern United States.

Selection of Natal Den Sites by Female Louisiana Black Bears in Louisiana, USA


Principal Investigators: Mr. Chris Stelly & Dr. Heidi Adams

Status: Manuscript in Preparation


Louisiana black bears faced population declines due to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as increased urbanization and expanding agricultural lands, but has since made its way off the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife due to conservation efforts by state biologists. Though the subspecies has received an increase in habitat, which warranted its delisting, efforts still persist to further increase its occupation throughout the historical range of Louisiana, eastern Texas, and western Mississippi. Reproductive habitat remains imperative because of the philopatric nature of the Louisiana black bear. Our objectives were to determine what landscape variables are important predictors of natal den site selection and how forest stand characteristics influence the type of established natal den. Results may be used to develop strategies that aid in the continued reoccupation of the historical range of the species.

Photo Credit: C. Stelly

Evaluation of White-tailed Deer Preference among Commerical Food Plot Seed Mixes


Principal Investigators: Dr. Heidi Adams & Dr. Joshua Adams

Status: Manuscript in Preparation


Establishment and management of food plots is a common practice used to attract white-tailed deer and other wildlife to an area.  Several companies that provide food plot seed mixes boast on the desirability their seed mix will provide foragers. With this large selection of mixes, costs of seed mixes will also vary. Our objective was to determine the ecological value of a high-cost and low-cost seed mix based upon deer foraging preference.

Photo Credit: H. Adams