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Restored Pine Woodlands Improve Bird Habitat in Midwest

A study by the University of Missouri showed that restoration of pine woodlands, through the combined use of intentional, managed fires and strategic thinning of tree density, has a dramatic beneficial effect on bird habitat. The researchers found that the restored pine woodland created an open canopy and a lush ground layer, which was ideal for allowing a balance between species that prefer less tree density and canopy cover with those that prefer more. Several of the birds that were observed thriving in this habitat are in decline elsewhere, including the Red-headed Woodpecker and the Prairie Warbler. “This is a powerful testament to the need to continue restoring these woodlands, which are also rich in plant diversity and likely more sustainable in many cases than closed forests under climate change,” commented wildlife biologist Frank Thompson, a study cooperator.