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FSUCML Conservation Lecture Series
June 12, 2014
Where: FSUCML Auditorium
Fire has shaped the ecology of southern pine forests for thousands of years. By some estimates, fires ignited by lightning moved through these forests every 2-3 years and led to the development of tight relationships between frequent fires and the habitat needs of many different animals. Birds are the most diverse group of vertebrates associated with southern pine forests and help to underscore the importance of fire. Far from being a hindrance, fire actually is a critical factor in habitat restoration for a number of species considered to be of greatest conservation concern.
In this presentation, Jim Cox will discuss the intimate relationship between birds and fire and in so doing demonstrate that fires conducted during late spring and summer — the primary months that many birds breed — do not pose grave threats to bird populations. In fact, the long-term benefits of fire significantly outweigh any short-term set backs. Fire is a natural process in southern pine forests, while the lack of fire is a death knell for declining species such as red-cockaded woodpeckers, Bachman’s sparrow, brown-headed nuthatch, and loggerhead shrike.