A Bird's-Eye View of Young Longleaf Pine
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Forestry and Wildlife Science
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Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) forests are an endangered ecosystem and a primary focus for restoration in the US. Through the cost-share program Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) assists private landowners in the southeastern US with longleaf pine planting. We evaluated stands enrolled in the Mississippi PFW program during the breeding seasons of 2018–2019 to determine whether landowners achieved USFWS avian conservation objectives. We detected very few focal songbirds (6 Bachman’s Sparrows; Peucaea aestivalis), likely due to inadequate application of prescribed fire. In order to provide habitat for declining focal species, we recommend the program shift focus from stand establishment to stand maintenance. We also explored the effects of foraging behavior, nesting behavior, and average species weight on species occupancy probability at multiple spatial scales. Utilizing AICc model selection, we found differential occupancy probability for species could not be explained by these attributes.