Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Michael L. Shelley, PhD


The Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) is an endangered species endemic to southeastern pine forests in the United States. RCWs are cooperative breeding birds that live together in clusters of old-growth pine trees in which they construct their nesting cavities. The cavities are constructed in living pines, which are predominantly longleaf pines. RCWs also forage upon older pines, preferably longleaf pine. The Endangered Species Act, along with other DoD regulations, requires DoD installations to protect the RCWs and restore their habitat. A popular management practice converts off-site (non-native) pines back to a region's indigenous pines. Conversion provides the best long term RCW habitat; however, the initial habitat fragmentation from off-site pine removal may be detrimental to RCW populations. Shaw AFB, SC manages a small RCW population on the Poinsett Weapons Range (PWR). Conversion from off-site slash pines to longleaf pines has been incorporated on the PWR. Shaw AFB would like to find optimal conversion rates that will not adversely affect the PWR RCW population. A spatially-explicit system dynamics model that incorporated foraging quality and group dynamics was constructed to address the conversion question. The model showed the resultant PWR RCW population level and behavior from a range of conversion settings used with different management strategies.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number