DOINews: Developing Strategies for Sustainable Scrub-Jay Management

Last edited 4/26/2016

Dr. Fred Johnson's (USGS Southeast Ecological Science Center) findings from his study examining optimal strategies for managing habitat of the threatened scrub-jay at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge was recently published in the Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management. NASA collaborated with USGS on the project, as the refuge is co-located with the Kennedy Space Center. The area is home to one of the three remaining core populations of scrub-jays (the others are at the Ocala National Forest and Archbold Biological Station). The study revealed the current management strategy of relying on prescribed burning of scrub is unlikely to maintain scrub-jay abundance over the long term. Periodic cutting of tall scrub is the better option for scrub-jay conservation. The refuge is now exploring ways to fund mechanical cutting, which is quite expensive, as well as increase the efficacy of prescribed burning. POC: Fred Johnson, (352) 392-5075