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The Institute for Bird Populations


Jefferson Proving Ground (Big Oaks NWR), Indiana
Last Edited: 5/5/2010

Background - Jefferson Proving Ground, now Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge, is a 55,000 acre installation/refuge near Madison, Indiana. It is located in NABCI Central Hardwoods Bird Conservation Region (BCR24) and covered by PIF Interior Low Plateaus Bird Conservation Plan (Physiographic Area 14). Jefferson Proving Ground has one of the largest contiguous forest blocks and grassland complexes in southeast Indiana. Major habitats include hardwood forests, riparian woodlands, savannas and grasslands. MAPS stations are located primarily in successional and mature deciduous forest, but also in riparian areas and old fields/grasslands. This property is recognised by Audubon as Big Oaks NWR IBA.

Management Issues - Existing management plans for Jefferson Proving Ground include maintenance of large continuous blocks of forest, shrubland, and grassland as well as enhancement of existing wetlands. Grassland management is a major management focus due to the state listing of the Henslow's Sparrow which requires large continuous tracts for breeding. Grasslands are maintained through annual prescribed burning and invasive plant species control. MAPS is monitoring the effects of prior timber harvest/forest thinning and prescribed burns, particularly for declining interior forest and scrub/successional species.

NLCD 2001 imagery of Fort Jefferson), IN and 20 km buffer (in Nott, M. P. and T. Morris. 2007. Performance Measure Analysis: Examples of Comparing and Contrasting Installation-specific Demographics with Regional Demographics and Landscape Characteristics PDF (7MB) ).

MAPS Monitoring (1994-2008) - The MAPS Station Information file contains descriptions and geographic location information for the nine MAPS stations that have ever operated at Jefferson Proving Ground. All stations were operated annually 1994-2002 and 2004-2008, except AR66, AR27, and AR16 which were discontinued in 1995, 2002, and 2004 respectively and AR03 and AR46 which were established in 2004 and 2005. Google Earth generated maps of the Jefferson Proving Ground location (JEFF) and of each currently operational station (AR54, AR31, AR07, AR64, AR03, AR46) show the specific arrangement of the nets and the associated vegetation.

Installation Contact:
Joe Robb
Refuge Manager
Tel: 812-273-0783