Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 21

A great spangled fritillary butterfl y pollinates a fl ower in a meadow at Cloudland
Canyon State Park in Rising Fawn. " We manage the meadow by burning and
mowing to encourage the native pollinator plants, " says Phil Delestrez, northern
natural resources manager for Georgia State Parks.
threatened species such as gopher tortoises. Their
burrows are vital to South Georgia ecosystems, partly
because they serve as useful hiding places for numerous
species of wildlife. Burning reduces hardwood
encroachment and encourages herbaceous plant
growth that provides the sunlight and forage the tortoises
need. They feed on the flowers from the plants
that sprout after a burn and then disperse the seeds
across the forest floor through their droppings.
The wildflowers that grow after a burn also
provide food for pollinators, such as butterflies, bees
and moths. Without prescribed fire, a forest can be
overtaken by woody plants that are not as palatable
to wildlife and don't have as much food benefit,
Palmer says.
In the Red Hills region, a 436,000-acre area
between Thomasville and Tallahassee, Fla., Palmer
uses prescribed fire to protect quail nesting sites
and increase quail chicks' survival rates. In the early
1900s, Georgia was known as the quail capital of the
world. In 1970, the bobwhite quail was designated as
the official state game bird.
Georgia's quail population has declined drastically
because of the significant loss of habitat and
Good forest-management practices, including prescribed
burns, can help preserve the habitats of keystone species,
such as gopher tortoises. Their burrows provide critical
shelter for them and for other wildlife.
land-use changes. The mortality rate is 50 percent or
more for quail chicks 14 days old or younger because
they can't yet fly to avoid predators.
Proven measures that increase the chicks'
chances of survival include creating 2- to 5-acre
blocks of annual weeds, such as ragweed, partridge
pea or beggarweed. The weeds' foliage provides a
canopy above the ground and open space underneath.
This is important because newly hatched
chicks are so small that they can't cope with thick
vegetation. Management practices, such as prescribed
burning or winter disking with a disk harrow,
which disturbs the soil and encourages herbaceous
plant species to germinate and sprout in spring,
produce numerous insects at or near ground level for
the chicks to eat.
The quail build their nests under the grass
canopy. The bare soil underneath the grass and
brush allows the tiny chicks to run around.
" Native grass is not like yard grass " and grows
in clusters, Palmer explains. " These clusters do not
form a carpet, but rather a canopy over the forest
floor, with room underneath for the birds to be
protected from hawks as well as other predators. "
www.georgiamagazine.org 21
PHIL DELESTREZ
DUSTIN BISHOP
EMILY FERRALL / GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
http://www.georgiamagazine.org

Georgia Magazine - March 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - March 2022

Contents
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 4
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 5
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 6
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 7
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 8
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 9
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 10
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 11
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 12
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 13
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 14
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 15
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 16
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 17
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 18
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 19
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 20
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 21
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 22
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 23
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 24
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 25
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 26
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 27
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 28
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 29
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 30
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 31
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Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 33
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 34
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 35
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 36
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 37
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 38
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Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 45
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 46
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - Cover4
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