Fire suppression and hardwood encroachment are two of the most significant threats to the imperiled, fire-dependent montane longleaf pine ecosystem. We examined the effects of restoration of a montane longleaf pine forest in Paulding County, Georgia, U.S.A. on tree canopy, groundcover and bird communities over a decade. The restoration included a program of prescribed fire and selective thinning to reduce tree canopy density and reduce or remove offsite species. Several conservation goals were met including the recovery of characteristic tree composition and groundcover. Birds responded with sharp increases in richness and abundance, with many shrub and woodland dependent species of high conservation value detected post-restoration. Our research demonstrates these sites are easily restorable and such projects will likely yield significant gains for conservation.
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