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Individual Highlight

Prairie Warbler and Wood Thrush Populations Respond Well to Strategic Conservation Efforts

Photo of Models indicate strategically placed habitat restoration is effective at reversing declines of Prairie Warblers whereas randomly placed management is not. Wolfgang Wander, Wikimedia Commons.Models indicate strategically placed habitat restoration is effective at reversing declines of Prairie Warblers whereas randomly placed management is not. Wolfgang Wander, Wikimedia Commons.Snapshot : A Forest Service scientist and his research partners demonstrated the power of landscape-based population viability models by evaluating responses of prairie warbler and wood thrush populations to different landscape-scale conservation scenarios. They found that relying on randomly placed habitat conservation was ineffective and potentially counterproductive, whereas strategic conservation focused around concentrations of public land and highly forested landscapes reversed regional population declines. These findings will help ensure scarce conservation funding is spent in the most effective manner.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Thompson, Frank R. 
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2013
Highlight ID : 476

Summary

Efforts to conserve regional biodiversity in the face of global climate change, habitat loss, and fragmentation will depend on approaches that consider population processes at large scales. A Forest Service scientist and his research partners demonstrated the power of landscape-based population viability models to inform conservation planning by using these models to evaluate responses of prairie warbler and wood thrush populations in the Central Hardwoods Bird Conservation Region to simulated conservation scenarios. They assessed the relative effectiveness of habitat restoration, afforestation, and increased survival and differed placement and levels of effort for implementing those approaches. Population projections of the two species confirmed the potential for large-scale conservation to sustain regional populations. Relying on randomly placed habitat conservation was ineffective and potentially counterproductive whereas strategic placements resulted in greater populations and viability of prairie warbler and wood thrush. These models offer a valuable advance in conservation planning because they allow an understanding of the effects of local actions on regional growth, which is necessary for translating regional goals into local actions.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • John Tirpak, Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Lafayette, LA
  • Todd Jones-Farrand, Central Hardwoods Joint Venture, Columbia, MO

Strategic
Program Areas

Priority
Areas