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Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and the Society for Range Management Host Bobwhite Project Field Day

Bill Palmer (Game Bird Management Research Fellow) of Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, James Martin (Ph. D. Candidate) of the University of Georgia, Warnell School of Forest Resources and the Society for Range Management hosted a USDA-NRCS/MSU Bobwhite Restoration Project Field Day on October 26, 2007. The “Bobwhite and Rangeland Management” field day featured an educational field tour held on a private ranch in Kenansville, FL. Kenansville houses the primary study site used in research evaluating bobwhite and grassland songbird response to various management practices on rangelands and quail hunting plantations in south Florida, which is partially funded by the USDA-NRCS/MSU Bobwhite Restoration Project. The field tour included several stops on one of the project’s study sites, to compare the effects of summer and winter prescribed fire, roller-chopping, and prescribed-fire-roller-chopping combinations on south Florida flatwoods ecosystems. Featured presenters discussed the need for management of the south Florida flatwoods to prohibit encroachment of saw palmetto and promote bobwhite and grassland bird habitat. Presenters stressed the importance of prescribed fire on 1 to 3 year rotations as a management tool, as well as the differences in vegetation response to variations in season of prescribed fire application. There was also ample discussion on the issues that prescribed fire raises in the drought-prone south Florida environment. Roller-chopping was also discussed and demonstrated as a means to control saw palmetto and other woody encroachment. Presenters then tied their discussion on management techniques back to the effects on bobwhite and other grassland bird communities. There were over 80 natural resources professionals and private landowners in attendance from over 4 states.

Download the Field Day agenda here, and a field day information packet here.

For more information, contact:

William E. Palmer, Ph. D.
Tall Timbers Research Station
13093 Henry Beadel Dr.
Tallahassee, FL 32312
Tel: 850-893-4153

James Martin

It was an excellent turnout at the “Bobwhite and Rangeland Management” Field Day held in Kenansville, FL. James Martin (Ph. D. Candidate at the University of Georgia) provided an introduction to management for bobwhite in the south Florida flatwoods ecosystem.

The Crowd

Over 80 natural resource professionals and private landowners were in attendance from more than 4 states.

Wayne Taylor

Wayne Taylor (U. S. Air Force Avon Park Bombing Range) shared insight and experience with the use of prescribed fire for wildlife habitat management in central and south Florida. He stressed the importance of timing and seasonality of burns to take into account dry and wet seasons during the year

Sam Vanhook

Sam Vanhook (Kissimmee Valley Forester) gave perspective on forestry in the Florida flatwoods, including integration of prescribed fire and other management techniques into a forest management practice. Sam provided an inside view on the issues that Florida foresters face, such as hurricanes, wildfire, woody encroachment, and endangered species’ use of timberlands.

Adam Butler

Adam Butler (Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Georgia) provided field day attendees with a summary of his M.S. research on grassland songbird use in response to various prescribed fire and roller-chopping management regimes.

Nancy Bissett

After lunch at the Kenansville community center, attendees went back to the ranch for a very informative presentation by Nancy Bissett (The Natives Inc.) on site-preparation and restoration of native grasses in south Florida. Nancy also explained the various methods available to harvest and plant native forb and grass seeds.

Saw Palmetto

Although when present in moderation it can be an excellent wildlife food source, when left unmanaged, saw palmetto will take over open areas, virtually eliminating quail and grassland songbird habitat.

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto can be controlled using techniques such as prescribed fire or roller-chopping.

Spot Spraying

Spot Spraying

The use of chemical herbicides is another alternative for management and control of invasive species and woody encroachment. Spot-spraying (top) and broadcast spraying (bottom) are two methods of herbicide application that are frequently used to control invasive species.

Summer Burn

Summer Burn

In the tropical climate of south Florida, frequent application of prescribed fire or other methods of disturbance is necessary to slow the invasion of saw palmetto and other undesirable species. The field on the top was burned in June of 2007, and the field on the bottom was burned in June of 2006.

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