Date of Award
Dr. Jerome J. Howard
Dr. Peter H. Yaukey
Dr. Simon Lailvaux
There has been a critical decline in grassland bird populations due to habitat fragmentation and deterioration, and suppression of natural fires. Alteration of the disturbance cycle may lead to changes in vegetation structure and thus habitat suitability for breeding grassland birds. Management practices at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge, including the use of prescribed fire, are in need of evaluation. My study asked what frequency of prescribed burns is necessary to support breeding grassland birds and whether vegetation structure varies among burn units. In this study, bird abundance and species richness did not differ significantly among burn units and vegetation cover-type was not a strong predictor of these factors either. There was evidence of site utilization by breeding grassland birds immediately following a burn, which suggests that the bird community is able to recovery quickly post-fire and these units may serve as viable habitat for breeding grassland birds.
Ruffman, Elizabeth A., "Effects of Prescribed Burns on Grassland Breeding Birds at Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge" (2013). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 1776.