Apply water to vegetation to increase food availability during drought

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects on mammals of applying water to vegetation to increase food availability during drought. This study was in the USA.




About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A controlled, before-and-after study in 2005 in a desert enclosure in Arizona, USA (Wilson et al. 2010) found that watering scrub during drought increased its use for feeding by adult Sonoran pronghorns Antilocapra american sonoriensis. In winter (January–March), before plots were watered, pronghorns selected plots to be watered and unwatered in proportion to their availability. After watering commenced, pronghorns fed more in watered plots than their availability in spring (April–June), summer (July–September) and autumn (October–December). Use of watered plots was highest in autumn, when 48% of observations were in these plots, which covered 5% cover of the enclosure. Seven adult pronghorns were held in a 130-ha enclosure. Eight desert scrub plots, c.8,000 m2 each, were watered at least once every two weeks from April–December 2005, by applying c.13 cm of water. Autumn rainfall during the study period was low (4 mm, compared to average of 16 mm). Pronghorn feeding area selection was determined by watching from a partially concealed viewpoint, from 23 January to 2 December 2005. Observations were recorded at 2-minute intervals, four to five days/week during either first light to noon or noon to last light, giving 38,900 individual observations.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Littlewood, N.A., Rocha, R., Smith, R.K., Martin, P.A., Lockhart, S.L., Schoonover, R.F., Wilman, E., Bladon, A.J., Sainsbury, K.A., Pimm S. and Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Terrestrial Mammal Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for terrestrial mammals excluding bats and primates. Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation - Published 2020

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

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