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Disappearing Oak Savannas Provide Important Bird Habitat

Cara J

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Preserved oak savanna ecosystems in parts of Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma might provide a good idea of the biodiversity that once ranged more widely across the Midwestern United States, according to new research. “We found that a lot of species that had population declines were using oak savanna,” said Nathan Holoubek who conducted the study published in The Journal of Wildlife Management as his master’s thesis work at Emporia State University (ESU). The orchard oriole is one of several species that could do better with the restoration of historical oak savanna, according to a new TWS member study published in The Journal of Wildlife Management. Image Credit: Kelly Colgan Azar via flickr Oak savanna, characterized by small tree copses or individual trees surrounded by more open grasslands or low-growing bushes, used to cover a massive area of the country from Minnesota down to Texas. But these ecosystems were reduced almost completely due to agriculture and fire suppression strategies initiated by European settlers who moved into the region. Due to a lack of studies of this kind, not much is known about which birds may have favored these landscapes, but Houlebak said many species may have been lost as the areas [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/disappearing-oak-savannas-provide-important-bird-habitat/

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