Using only this species as an example, as acres are degraded due to severe brush encroachment or are converted and native herbaceous broadleaf plants sprayed, there becomes even less potential habitat for this already steeply declining bird.
Fragmentation becomes another range-wide issue for so many of these songbirds. In Oklahoma, we experience fragmentation where once large farms or ranches are broken up and sold as smaller tracts. An original 2,000-acre property might now be sold as multiple 80-acre or smaller tracts.
While maintaining any quality or quantity of contiguous wildlife habitat intact in this example may be more difficult or complex, this example of fragmentation is not inherently bad. In this case, if the majority of the new landowners have primary or secondary wildlife objectives for their properties, collectively, they have the potential to increase the availability of quality habitat for songbirds and other wildlife species. It’s all in how it’s managed.
No matter the size of the property, it is generally best to focus on managing the native plant community and structure based on soil type, geographic location, and climate.
Knowing what your property should look like, which native plants should be occurring and in what arrangement is critical for any land manager to know, especially when managing for wildlife.
Conducting prescribed burns that control brush encroachment or increase native forb production, minimizing or foregoing unnecessary broadcast herbicide applications by selectively spraying target invasive plant species, and restoring converted lands back to native, will all aid in increasing quality available habitat that will benefit resident and migrant songbirds.