Using Birds as Indicators in Oak-Chaparral Restoration Projects
A number of oak obligate bird species are in decline, making oak habitat restoration a priority. Oak-chaparral plant communities, characterized by open-grown oaks with a thick shrub understory, provide important habitats for wildlife. Sometimes they require reduction during restoration as chaparral can burn at high severity and threaten large, old oaks and other high-value resources (e.g. homes).
KSON identified the research need to inform landscape and site-level planning when chaparral reduction is warranted to reduce fire risk and meet oak restoration objectives. Klamath Bird Observatory research found that retaining large patches of chaparral and prioritizing retention in a landscape context will help ensure sufficient habitat remains for chaparral-associated birds. As part of KSON’s adaptive management strategy, management recommendations are being incorporated into restoration design. The results from our study of chaparral can be found in a decision support tool, Oak Woodlands, and Chaparral: Aligning chaparral-associated bird habitat needs with oak woodland restoration and fuel reduction in southwest Oregon and northern California.