Wind Energy Development, Prescribed Fire and Migratory Land Birds in the Southeastern United States: Breeding, Stopover, and Wintering Habitat Relationships

Conference Paper

Title: Wind Energy Development, Prescribed Fire and Migratory Land Birds in the Southeastern United States: Breeding, Stopover, and Wintering Habitat Relationships
Publication Date:
October 01, 2009
Conference Name: Fourth International Partners in Flight Conference: Tundra to Tropics
Conference Location: McAllen, Texas, USA
Pages: 184-193
Publisher: Partners in Flight
Affiliation:
Stressor:

Document Access

Website: External Link

Citation

Brennan, L.; Ballard, B.; Kuvlesky, W. (2009). Wind Energy Development, Prescribed Fire and Migratory Land Birds in the Southeastern United States: Breeding, Stopover, and Wintering Habitat Relationships. Paper Presented at the Fourth International Partners in Flight Conference: Tundra to Tropics, McAllen, Texas, USA.
Abstract: 

Fire is a landscape disturbance that historically was more widespread and pervasive than it is today. Restoring fire to the landscape is desirable in many cases, but problematic almost everywhere. The proposed extensive wind energy developments on the Gulf Coast is a new factor that will most likely further limit applications of prescribed fire for ecosystem management objectives. Despite the anthropogenic reduction of fire, we should not continue to overlook the past and potential importance of fire and how fire influences habitat resources needed by resident, migrating, and wintering land birds. How fire influences stopover and wintering migratory bird populations and habitats is unclear, and needs more attention from researchers and managers. Because the ecology of fire and the biology of migration are complex topics, understanding the interactions between migratory birds and fire is a daunting task. Adding the potential negative impacts of wind farms to this already complex mix makes this problem more onerous. Nevertheless, a series of future research strategies to better understand this topic in the context of how wind farm developments might impact ecosystem management of coastal forests and rangelands in the southeastern United States of America should include: (1) an approximation of historic fire regimes in tropical, subtropical and barrier island habitats, (2) how anthropogenic disturbances have influenced these fire regimes, (3) how prescribed fire applications mimic such historic regimes by using manipulative field experiments on the wintering grounds and in areas known to provide critical stopover habitat resources, and, most importantly, (4) how to continue to implement prescribed fire in light of increased fragmentation from infrastructure associated with wind farm energy development.

 

Paper published in Proceedings of the Fourth International Partners in Flight Conference: Tundra to Tropics.

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