Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Kristine O. Evans

Committee Member

Mark D. McConnell

Committee Member

Dana J. Morin

Committee Member

Scott A. Rush

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


Fire suppression, combined with lack of forest thinning and short-rotation, monodominant management, has drastically altered the landscape in the southeastern U.S., leading to the loss of open pine ecosystems and associated avian species. Management of open pine ecosystems is a common practice; yet, there remains uncertainty regarding how vegetation structure impacts priority species. Using empirical data, I assessed changes in species abundance and associated vegetation characteristics before and after management. I also sought to identify vegetation characteristics that influence home range establishment and microhabitat selection of Bachman’s Sparrows. Priority species were negatively associated with hardwood midstory and abundance per site increased following management. Home range establishment of Bachman’s Sparrows was influenced by disturbance, canopy cover, and slope, while microhabitat selection was influenced by pine basal area, available perching options, vegetation density, and herbaceous groundcover. Understanding how vegetation structure impacts priority species may be helpful in guiding conservation and management efforts.