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Habitat Establishment, Enhancement and Management for Forest and Grassland Birds in Illinois

How To Use This Guide

The purpose of this guide is to provide technical guidance to resource managers, planners, restorationists, and private landowners in Illinois who wish to establish, enhance, and manage land for nongame forest or grassland nesting birds.

While the emphasis of the recommendations is on area-sensitive forest and grassland species, we recognize that not all areas are suitable for this type of management. Our goal is to recommend approaches that benefit area-sensitive species where appropriate, and to identify and provide guidance to other habitat projects that are beneficial to all types of wildlife. While no one management guide can provide the answers for every situation, we hope that we can provide guidance that it is most beneficial to the greatest variety of Illinois' wildlife.

The most important part of developing a management plan is to evaluate the potential of different management alternatives. For example, if you are working with a 20 acre tract that is surrounded by a 160 acre forest, attempting to manage for grassland birds would be counter-productive. Your greatest chance of success, with the greatest potential for benefitting rare or declining species, would be to manage for forest habitat. On the other hand if you are starting from scratch with a 40 acre tract completely surrounded by row-crop agriculture, your greatest chance of success would be an attempt to attract grassland bird species.

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