The Central Hardwoods Bird Conservation Region supported a myriad of habitat types historically, from open grasslands, to savannas and open and closed-canopy woodlands, to true mesic forests. Those habitat types often were interspersed with others depending especially on slopes and aspects within a given landscape. In some cases, one habitat type might occur as a smaller patch in a matrix of another, like glades in woodlands and wetlands in barrens, or grade into one another where woodlands on drier upper slopes, for example, grade into mesic forests on lower slopes and bottomlands.
Our habitat objectives almost always involve the need to restore the structure and function of our natural communities after many, many decades of land use change, and, with the exception of mesic forests and wetlands, involve the use of prescribed fire. There are many locations where glades and woodlands have simply been degraded over time and can be restored with thinning to open the canopy and fire to stimulate the groundcover. However, most of our prairies and barrens, with their deeper soils, have been completely converted to non-native grasses and cropland, and those need to be reseeded or replanted with native vegetation as an initial step in bringing them back. The Southeastern Grasslands Initiative is emerging as an important ally in those efforts by developing locally-adapted native seed sources that can be used to recreate native communities with a grassland component. Read more at https://www.segrasslands.org/.