The Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) is an indicator of ecosystem integrity of Florida scrub, an endangered ecosystem that requires frequent fire. One of the largest populations of this federally threatened species occurs on John F. Kennedy Space Center/Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Population trends were predicted using population modeling and field data on reproduction and survival of Florida Scrub-Jays collected from 1988 - 1995. Analyses of historical photography indicated that habitat suitability has been declining for 30 years. Field data and computer simulations suggested that the population declined by at least 40 and will decline by another 40 in 1 0 years, if habitat management is not greatly intensified. Data and computer simulations suggest that habitat suitability cannot deviate greatly from optimal for the jay population to persist. Landscape trajectories of vegetation structure, responsible for declining habitat suitability, are associated with the disruption of natural fire regimes. Prescribed fire alone can not reverse the trajectories. A recovery strategy was developed, based on studies of Florida Scrub-Jays and scrub vegetation. A reserve design was formulated based on conservation science principles for scrub ecosystems. The strategy emphasizes frequent fire to restore habitat, but includes mechanical tree cutting for severely degraded areas. Pine thinning across large areas can produce rapid increases in habitat quality. Site-specific strategies will need to be developed, monitored, and modified to achieve conditions suitable for population persistence.