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Upland Ecosystem Restoration Project (UERP)
Quail Forever Chapters associated with the Coalition are guided by the following principles:
- Enhance and promote quality habitat northern bobwhite and other grassland species on public lands;
- Provide funding from Chapters to the Coalition for increased land management activities and monitoring of bob white habitats and populations on public lands; and
- Ensure at least 80% of Chapter discretionary funds go to Coalition approved habitat projects.
Funds raised by chapters will go directly to on-the-ground management for quail and help boost on-going quail restoration projects in Florida (through UERP) and Georgia!
To learn more about the Coalition or to learn about Chapter formation, please contact Lane Green.
The Upland Ecosystem Restoration Project (UERP) is a multi-agency cooperative effort to increase populations of northern bobwhite and other declining fire-dependent wildlife species on public lands throughout Florida.
Begun in 2006, UERP has six major objectives: 1) develop long-term, landscape level projects; 2) increase populations of northern bobwhites and other declining fire-dependent wildlife species; 3) increase fire frequency to 1 – 2 year intervals; 4) increase land management activities (roller chopping, timber harvests, hardwood reduction, etc.) on selected areas; and 5) provide greater recreational opportunities on public lands.
Since conception, UERP has become an integral partner with the state’s land management agencies in changing management philosophy towards restoration of early successional habitat to benefit northern bobwhite and other species of greatest conservation need. To that end, UERP has successfully engaged the State’s four primary land management agencies (Division of Forestry, Department of Environmental Protection, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and National Forests in Florida), to address conservation threats (incompatible fire regime) and changing management philosophy towards restoration of priority habitats to benefit declining wildlife species.
Considerable increased land management activities have occurred on nine designated focal properties representing approximately 100,000 acres. Approximately half of all UERP acreage is burned annually – the key factor in restoring these upland habitats is simply that fire needs to be frequently applied to the landscape, regardless of season. In pursuit of greater species diversity, other management tools are often necessary. Roller chopping used sparingly; can quickly create early successional habitat that can be maintained by frequent fire. Timber thinning and hardwood reduction create more diverse wildlife habitat by allowing more sunlight to reach forest floor.
In addition to on-the-ground management, a significant accomplishment of UERP is multiagency cooperation among leaders, managers, and staff incorporating sound ecological management into their management strategies and agency policies. What makes UERP unique is that it provides a statewide view of the issues, facilitates communication within and among agencies, independent assessment of agency activities (annual species monitoring) and all partners share a common vision of impacting habitat in a positive and cost-effective manner.
Osceola National Forest Project
The Upland Ecosystem Restoration Project (UERP) has partnered with the Osceola National Forest (Osceola) as part of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP). The purpose of the CFLRP project is to encourage the collaborative, science-based ecosystem restoration of priority forest landscapes that promote healthier and more productive public lands through land management activities which will reduce wildfire risk, enhance fish and wildlife habitats, and maintain and improve water quality.
The Osceola has approximately 121 compartments. Over the next 10 years through the CFLRP project, land management activities (timber thinning, roller chopping, variations in temporal and spatial scale of prescribed fire, etc.) will be increased on approximately 38 compartments. These management practices will be applied to areas with different ecological condition classes within compartments. Key wildlife and vegetation condition questions revolve around the long-term consequences of increased management actions. For instance, managers need to know if a 3 year fire return interval (and seasonal affects) will result in long-term control of shrub species, or is a 2 year fire return interval necessary. Further, what are the wildlife and timber management implications of a 2 versus a 3 year fire return interval and what are the economic considerations? Can increased burning frequency reduce burning costs as fuels are reduced?
To examine the effectiveness of these increased land management activities on both vegetation and related avian communities, as well as provide reliable information to managers, UERP will conduct monitoring in the 38 CFLRP enhancement compartments comprised of different management prescriptions. Monitoring includes spatially and temporally documenting management actions, tracking vegetation condition, photo-point collection, and distance sampling methods for determining densities of breeding and wintering birds. Protocols utilized are standard protocols that have been tested widely such that sampling design, intensity, and power are well established. Field, data collection and analysis methods have been tested and refined for Florida habitats.