Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Baker, Beth

Committee Member

Brooks, John P.

Committee Member

Iglay, Raymond Bruce

Committee Member

Davis, J. Brian

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


This study investigated a potentially sustainable rice production system in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) that uses ecological principles to enhance environmental quality at the field scale. It was hypothesized annual flooding of rice fields to create waterbird habitat would benefit soil health, providing agronomic benefits to the farmer. Two sites were selected: a low-external-input-sustainable-agriculture (LEISA) system with flooded (LF) and nonlooded (LN) fields and a conventional site with flooded (CF) and nonlooded (CN) fields. Soil microbial diversity and nutrient content were quantified and compared. Camera traps were used to document bird activity for estimates of fecal matter input. Soil health variables linked LF high bird activity with soil health and pathogen detection. Evidence from the investigation provided a framework for other producers within the MAV to adopt similar management methods, ultimately improving the overall integrity of soil, water, and environmental quality.



ecology||agriculture||nutrient cycling