Habitat structure for a scrub specialist
To understand Florida Scrub-Jay habitat structure at Avon Park Air Force Range
Florida Scrub-Jays (FSJs) rely on fire to maintain the medium height scrub they prefer. In 2019, Archbold scientists began assessing potential FSJ habitat at Avon Park Air Force Range to understand existing habitat quality and structure in relation to fire. Combining this information with demography data helps land managers make decisions that maximize high-quality habitat, encouraging population growth and helping to save the rarest of the rare.
Major Findings & Impact
Because the structure jays prefer is maintained by fire, the suitability of an area will change from too short, to optimal, to too tall as time since fire progresses. These assessments help us guide the US Air Force's management of the oak scrub habitat at Avon Park Air Force Range.
More about this project
Data and Analysis Types
Qualitative and quantitative metrics of habitat structure
Avon Park Air Force Range
2019 to present
“Time since fire is an imperfect surrogate for habitat structure, and jays are concerned about habitat structure. When scrub becomes too tall—usually about 20 years after a fire—the jays inevitably disappear.” – Dr. Reed Bowman, Emeritus Research Biologist