Response of Bachman's sparrows (Aimophila aestivalis) to growing-season prescribed fires in longleaf pine savannas of southern Georgia
Jones, Clark David
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In the remaining pine savannas of the southeastern United States, land managers employ growing-season (late April – July) prescribed fires to control hardwood encroachment and promote the growth of grasses and forbs. Some studies suggest that Bachman’s sparrows (Aimophila aestivalis), a species requiring frequent fire, may be negatively affected by growing-season prescribed fire due to elimination of nesting habitat during the breeding season. The classification of Bachman’s sparrow as a Species at Risk by United States Fish and Wildlife Service underscores the importance of determining factors that influence the reproduction and distribution of this species. This study examined the effects of growing-season prescribed fire at two spatial extents on Bachman’s sparrow survival, breeding status, and home-range characteristics. Growing-season burns had minimal impacts on survival and may promote better nesting habitat. Incorporating growing-season burns into existing management strategies is recommended for the conservation of this species.