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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of prescribed burning of oak savanna on bird communities and populations, Illinois, USA

Published source details

Brawn J.D. (2006) Effects of restoring oak savanna on bird communities and populations. Conservation Biology, 20, 460-469


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Use prescribed burning on savannas Bird Conservation

A replicated, paired study in oak Quercus spp. savanna in Illinois, USA (Brawn 2006), found that bird community composition was significantly different in areas with prescribed burning compared to closed-canopy oak forest. Of the 31 bird species analysed, 12 were more common in burned savanna and five more common in unburned forest. Twelve savanna sites maintained by burns (spring, autumn or both, on a 3-5 year rotation, with periodic removal of Acer spp. and European buckthorn Rhamnus catharticus) were paired with 12 forest sites (no burning for over 50 years). Point counts were conducted for 3-5 years (between 25 May-10 July 1995-1999) to assess bird abundance. There was no effect of burning on brood parasitism by brown-headed cowbird Molothrus ater.