Management of oak forests for northern bobwhite

December 12, 2017, 1:00 PM central time

By: Dr. Dwayne Elmore, Oklahoma State University


Abstract: Millions of acres of potential northern bobwhite habitat exist within the oak forest region of the eastern United States. Currently, little of this area supports bobwhite due to the extensive closed canopy conditions and limited shrub and herbaceous understory. Prescribed fire is often recommended within oak forests to increase habitat for bobwhite and other associated avian species. However, without aggressive initial forest overstory reductions, prescribed fire alone will have minimal effect on bobwhite abundance. We will discuss the canopy cover reductions necessary to expect occupancy of northern bobwhite as well as prescribed fire regimes recommended to maintain bobwhite habitat. Finally, avian species that will increase or decrease under this management regime will be addressed.