Population status and trend of red-cockaded woodpeckers on Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): C. J. Petrick; B. W. Hagedorn
Editor(s): Ralph Costa; Susan J. Daniels
Publication Year: 2004

Cataloging Information

  • adaptive management
  • aerial ignition
  • barrier islands
  • biogeography
  • burning intervals
  • cavity nesting birds
  • cavity trees
  • chemistry
  • clearcutting
  • community ecology
  • conservation
  • deforestation
  • diameter classes
  • distribution
  • droughts
  • duff
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • ecosystem management
  • education
  • Eglin Air Force Base
  • Etheostoma okaloosae
  • fine fuels
  • fire frequency
  • fire hazard reduction
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire suppression
  • fishes
  • flatwoods
  • Florida
  • forage
  • forbs
  • forest management
  • forest products
  • fuel loading
  • ground cover
  • habitat conversion
  • habitat suitability
  • hardwoods
  • herbaceous vegetation
  • herbicides
  • histories
  • human caused fires
  • hunting
  • ignition
  • insects
  • land management
  • lightning caused fires
  • logging
  • longleaf pine
  • military
  • military lands
  • national forests
  • natural areas management
  • nongame birds
  • old growth forests
  • overstory
  • photography
  • Picoides borealis
  • pine forests
  • Pinus clausa
  • Pinus elliottii
  • Pinus palustris
  • population density
  • population ecology
  • population trend
  • private lands
  • Quercus
  • Quercus laevis
  • red-cockaded woodpecker
  • reforestation
  • regeneration
  • riparian habitats
  • roads
  • roots
  • sandhills
  • season of fire
  • seedlings
  • soil nutrients
  • soils
  • species diversity (animals)
  • species diversity (plants)
  • statistical analysis
  • suppression
  • threatened and endangered species (animals)
  • translocation
  • understory vegetation
  • US Forest Service
  • wetlands
  • wildfires
  • wildlife
  • wildlife habitat management
  • xeric soils
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 42846
Tall Timbers Record Number: 17976
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Eglin Air Force Base (Eglin) supports 309 active clusters, making it the fourth largest red-cockaded woodpecker population. During a 7-year period from 1994 to 2001, Eglin's red-cockaded woodpecker population increased 42%, making Eglin the fastest-growing large population of red-cockaded woodpeckers. This progress toward recovery would not have been possible were it not for profound changes in Eglin's land management programs, the involvement and participation of numerous universities and conservation organizations, and most importantly, changes in the attitudes of military and civilian leaders and natural resources managers. Prior to and during the 1980s, Eglin was failing to meet requirements of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA) and the base wide red-cockaded woodpecker population was declining. In 1989, Eglin consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on a major test program with potential for adverse impacts to red-cockaded woodpeckers. Eglin received a jeopardy opinion from the USFWS citing the decline of red-cockaded woodpeckers and lack of information and effective management. Ironically, historic land management practices, in particular overharvest of longleaf pine and fire suppression, were the main causes for the population decline and the jeopardy opinion. This prompted major changes in the leadership's perception of environmental regulations, their impact on the military mission, and the relationship of natural resources management to the military mission. A comprehensive base-wide red-cockaded woodpecker survey was conducted and 2 additional positions were added to the natural resources staff. Eglin's Natural Resources Branch underwent a major transformation from a single-species management approach emphasizing fire suppression and timber and game species production to an ecosystem and biodiversity conservation approach. The forestry program was refocused to achieve restoration goals through standard and nonstandard forestry practices. Partnerships were developed with universities to obtain better information about status and trend of Eglin's red-cockaded woodpecker population and to test the effectiveness of management operations through a large-scale adaptive management experiment. There are still challenges to overcome to achieve the recovery of red-cockaded woodpeckers on Eglin, associated with meeting annual burning objectives and reducing losses of old-growth longleaf pine; however, the future remains bright. © 2004 Ralph Costa. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Online Link(s):
Petrick, C. J., and B. W. Hagedorn. 2004. Population status and trend of red-cockaded woodpeckers on Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in Costa, R. and Daniels, S. J., Proceedings of the 4th Red-cockaded Woodpecker Symposium: Road to Recovery. Savannah, GA. Hancock House Publishers,Blaine, WA. p. 203-214,