Intensive pine (Pinus spp.) management is a dominant form of forest management in the southeastern United States. Previous research has shown that managed pine forests provide suitable habitat for eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris), but little research has examined seasonal habitat selection for female wild turkeys from a landscape perspective, particularly within managed pine landscapes. Therefore, we used a long-term (1986–1993) data set to describe seasonal habitat selection by female wild turkeys, using an information-theoretic approach from a landscape perspective, on an intensively managed pine landscape. Habitat use patterns during preincubation and autumn–winter were indicative of female wild turkeys moving between a bottomland hardwood–agricultural field complex during autumn–winter and upland managed pine stands during the remainder of the year. During spring and summer, female wild turkeys used landscapes primarily composed of intensively managed pine, including thinned and burned stands and roadsides. Our results confirm results of short-term, stand-based habitat analyses on our study area. We recommend variable fire return intervals of 3 to 7 years to improve habitat conditions for wild turkeys within intensively managed pine forests. Further research is needed to examine management actions, such as thinning, prescribed fire, and herbicide use, within the context of wild turkey use of intensively managed pine landscapes.
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Vol. 71 • No. 3