Conservation Planning - WGCPO Landbirds
The West Gulf Coastal Plain/Ouachitas (WGCPO) Bird Conservation Region encompasses 52 million acres of northwest Louisiana, southwest Arkansas, easternmost Texas, and the southeast corner of Oklahoma.
Pine forests and woodlands with low canopy cover, low basal area, and an open grassy or herbaceous understory are relatively uncommon in the West Gulf Coastal Plain and Ouachita Mountains (WGCPO), yet provide important habitat for priority bird species and other wildlife. Formerly common within the WGCPO, “open” pine habitat was historically maintained by periodic fires. With fire suppression and conversion of native pine forest to pine plantations planted at high stem densities, many of the bird species dependent upon this habitat have markedly declined. Therefore, conservation of open pine habitat is a high priority action for natural resource agencies and organizations. Priority bird species include Northern Bobwhite, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Bachman’s Sparrow, and Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, among others.
Although pines dominate the WGCPO, bottomland hardwood forest and associated riparian areas occur along the Arkansas, Ouachita, Sabine, Neches, and Red Rivers as well as in other river flood plains. The primary threats to forested wetlands in the region are from reservoirs and conversion of hardwood stands to pine plantation, pasture, or other land uses. Bottomland hardwood forests and riparian areas represent a unique and imperiled habitat in the WGCPO that supports such area-sensitive breeding birds, such as Acadian Flycatcher, Kentucky Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Prothonotary Warbler and Red-Shouldered Hawk.
The results of the conservation planning for Open Pine and Bottomland Hardwood habitat in the region and other documents are contained here.
Landbird Planning in the West Gulf Coastal Plain/Ouachitas
Open Pine Decision Support Tool
Click here to download the Open Pine Decision Support Tool
Conservation Plans for other landbird guilds in the WGCPO are under development