Maggi Sliwinski

Maggi Sliwinski

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Grants
  • Courses Taught
  • Outreach

Degree PhD in NRES (Applied Ecology)
Address 244 Hardin Hall - Section 43
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
Phone 402-472-9656
FAX 402-472-2946
Cell 402-327-1647
Advisor(s) Larkin Powell
Walt Schacht
Contact Preference

The majority of native grassland is on private land. My focus is on the Northern Great Plains, where I am studying how we can bring together ranching and landscapes for the benefit of both. I hope to do this by understanding the attitudes and behaviors of private landowners regarding decision making on their ranches, as well as how interested stakeholders can structure new programs for management of entire landscapes and wildlife.

Selected Publications

Sliwinski, M.S. 2017. Heterogeneity of Avian Breeding Habitat On Grazing Lands Of The Northern Great Plains. PhD Dissertation. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Online
Sliwinski, M S, and N Koper. 2015. Managing Mixed-Grass Prairies for Songbirds Using Variable Cattle Stocking Rates.¯ Rangeland Ecology & Management 68 (6): 470-75.
Sliwinski, M. L. A. Powell, N. Koper, M. Giovanni, W. Schacht. 2015. Research design considerations to ensure detection of all species in an avian community. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 7:456-462. Online
Sliwinski, M., and N. Koper. 2012. Grassland bird responses to three edge types in a fragmented mixed-grass prairie. Avian Conservation and Ecology 7(2):6.


Selected Presentations

Heterogeneity of avian breeding habitat on private lands of the Northern Great Plains
  • Presentation Type: Dissertation Defense
  • Date: 2/17/2017
  • Abstract:

    Most intact rangelands in North America are privately owned and used for beef production. Vegetation heterogeneity is an important habitat component for maintaining biodiversity, but private land may be more homogenous than desired. My research had two major components: 1) to examine whether a variety of grazing strategies created vegetation heterogeneity in a large, intact rangeland, and 2) to understand beef producers' attitudes about vegetation heterogeneity.

    First, I sampled vegetation structure, composition, and bird abundance in Cherry County, Nebraska. I examined the relationship of vegetation heterogeneity and bird abundance and communities to management variables. Grazing strategy had few relationships to vegetation structure or bird abundance and communities, but pasture-level management variables were relatively important. Multiple grazing strategies on a landscape did not contribute to vegetation heterogeneity, and vegetation structure and bird communities were more homogenous than expected. Federal land could be used to ensure that heterogeneity exists on the landscape for species that cannot find suitable habitat on private land.

    Second, I interviewed 12 beef producers to explore their opinions of heterogeneity, and conducted a mail survey of producers in Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Both indicated that beef producers' main concern is sustainable beef production, and this likely contributes to homogenizing the rangeland landscape. My data confirm that producers appreciated wildlife and have positive views toward landscape management. Although fire and prairie dogs might enhance heterogeneity of vegetation, these were negatively viewed because they increased risk to the producer. Producers' responses provided insights on how conservationists should engage them to manage for biodiversity. I recommend engaging producers through Extension educators and hands-on activities.

Educational Background

  • BA - William Smith College (2007)
  • BS - William Smith College (2007)
  • MS - University of Manitoba (2011)


  • 2016 – Irvin A. and Agnes E. Nelson Memorial Fellowship awarded by SNR Graduate Student Association 
  • – 2015 School of Natural Resources Meritorious Graduate Student Award awarded by School of Natural Resources | University of Nebraska-Lincoln 

Professional Organizations

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Sigma Xi
  • The Wildlife Society
    • Chair, Early Career Professional Working Group October 2014-October 2016
  • Wilson Ornithological Society

Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant Title Collaborative Conservation in the Great Plains: Opportunities and Barriers for Cross-Property Private-Lands Management
Starting Date 10/1/2014
Principal Investigators
Maggi Sliwinski
Mark Burbach
Ending Date 9/30/2016
Funding Level $9,996.00
Funding Source University of Minnesota - SARE (USDA-NIFA)