The management of the jack pine stands for the Kirtland’s warbler tries to mimic the composition and structure of a forest recently burned in a wildfire. Managers use mechanical treatments such as tree removal. “Legacy” trees (large red and white pines, red and white oak, etc.) are left to provide a seed source for future generations of trees. More (and larger) standing dead trees and coarse woody debris are left behind for wildlife habitat.
Prescribed fire is an effective way to regenerate jack pine stands and maintain younger stands of trees for breeding Kirtland’s warblers. The warblers need to have 5 to 23 year old jack pine forests to nest and raise their young. In the past, prescribed and natural fires were the primary method of habitat creation used in the area. The first management action at Kirtland’s Warbler Wildlife Management Area was a successful prescribed fire in 1992. However, the terrain and climate of the pine barrens, the history of threat of fire escape, and local residents’ aversion to burning severely limit the use of fire for jack pine management. Managers hope to use prescribed fire where it can be applied safely.
Research is an integral component of land management for wildlife population preservation, conservation, and restoration and should be incorporated along with future inventory and monitoring. Future research will attempt to focus on aspects of disturbance ecology, restoration ecology, landscape ecology, forest ecology, invasive species, climate change and conservation biology and related fields in the context of wildlife habitat conservation, preservation, and restoration at the management area.
A bibliographic archive of published papers, meeting notes, etc. associated with the recovery of Kirtland's warbler is maintained at the Kirtland Community College, Roscommon, Michigan. Published papers can be found through traditional means.
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The Kirtland's warbler moves its tail frequently, down quickly and up slowly. Bird behavior can help birdwatchers more easily identify their quarry.