Posts Tagged ‘bird conservation’
*** NEWS RELEASE—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***
May 18, 2016
Media Contact: John Alexander, Executive Director Klamath Bird Observatory
To mark the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty, the North American Bird Conservation Initiative has published the State of North America’s Birds report. Through a groundbreaking collaboration between the United States, Mexico, and Canada this report evaluates birds of nine key ecosystems across the continent. The report highlights two key aspects of bird conservation that are core to Klamath Bird Observatory’s science, education, and partnership efforts in southern Oregon and northern California. First, science driven conservation works, and second, our continent’s birds still need our help.
The Report’s authors found that where an investment is made in healthy habitat management, birds are doing well; and healthy birds mean healthy ecosystems. They provide several examples, including southern Oregon’s Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network collaboration of Lomakatski Restoration Project, Bureau of Land Management, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Klamath Bird Observatory and others. The Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network has leveraged $4.5 million of combined federal and non-federal resources to restore over 3,000 acres of oak woodlands across our region, with another 3,000 acres to be restored by 2020. This work is being guided by and evaluated with KBO research and monitoring using oaks-associated birds as indicators of success.
The Report also presents a Watch List that identifies one third of North America’s bird species as high risk, including the Olive-sided Flycatcher. Klamath Bird Observatory research shows that in our region the Olive-sided Flycatcher is associated with fire and related forest conditions. This is just one example of the many indicator species that Klamath Bird Observatory studies, with results informing forest management. The State of North America’s Birds report emphasizes the importance of such studies, because quality, not just quantity, of our temperate forests, is critical for forest birds. In the West, fire plays a key role in maintaining high-quality forest ecosystems, and Klamath Bird Observatory is working to show how this understanding, and the use of birds as indicators, can inform management our western forests. This application of science and bird conservation priorities to address pressing forest management challenges, with an intention to protect and restore our forests, and thereby stop the steepening declines of our western forest birds.
This new State of North America’s Birds report is a call to action. Of North America’s 1,154 bird species, 432 are now considered of “high concern” due to low or declining populations and growing threats from habitat loss, invasive predators, and climate change. Migratory birds connect people to nature and provide multiple benefits – ecological, economic, agricultural, aesthetic, and recreational – for people and the natural environment. Therefor our governments, industry, and the public must once again come together to support migratory bird conservation. The 2016 Report and past State of the Birds reports archive are available at www.StateOfTheBirds.org.
Klamath Bird Observatory, based in Ashland, Oregon, is a scientific non-profit organization that achieves bird conservation in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the migratory ranges of the birds of our region. We developed our award-winning conservation model in the ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California, and we now apply this model more broadly to care for our shared birds throughout their annual cycles. Emphasizing high caliber science and the role of birds as indicators of the health of the land, we specialize in cost-effective bird monitoring and research projects that improve natural resource management. Also, recognizing that conservation occurs across many fronts, we nurture a conservation ethic in our communities through our outreach and educational programs.
The U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) Committee is a forum of government agencies, private organizations, and bird initiatives helping partners across the continent meet their common bird conservation objectives. The Committee is working to secure a bright future for North America’s more than 1,150 species of birds, in conjunction with NABCI partners in Mexico and Canada to increase cooperation and effectiveness of bird conservation efforts among the three countries. The NABCI Committee’s strategy is to foster coordination and collaboration on key issues of concern, including bird monitoring, conservation design, private lands, international collaboration, and state and federal agency support for integrated bird conservation.
For more information about the North American Bird Conservation Initiative: www.nabci-us.org/
New study shows how wildfire changes forests and the birds that live there a decade after a mixed-severity fire in southwest Oregon
PRESS RELEASE — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 17, 2015
Contact: Jaime Stephens, email@example.com, 541-944-2890
Ashland, Oregon: As much of the West is experiencing drought-related wildfire, new research on the effect of wildfire on forests and bird communities has just been released. Researchers from Klamath Bird Observatory just published results from a 10-year study looking at the effects of the 2001 Quartz Fire that burned in southwest Oregon. They found that not only did the forest structure change dramatically over time, but the bird community changed as well, with many species benefitting from the fire, a finding that was only obvious at the end of the 10- year period. In addition, the researchers documented the role of the fire’s severity showing that for half of the species affected by the fire their response was dependent on fire severity more so than simply whether the area was burned.
This study is important because it looks at the interacting effects of fire severity and time since fire, and provides forest managers with scientific evidence of how wildfire can create a forest that meets the needs of both wildlife and forest management, especially as forest restoration efforts are increasing. Their results are published in the journal The Condor: Ornithological Applications (http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1650/CONDOR-14-58.1?journalCode=cond&).
The Quartz Fire of 2001 burned over 6000 acres of mixed conifer broad-leafed forest (a mix of conifers and trees such as Pacific madrone and black oak). Wildfires are an important part of southwest Oregon forests, and usually burn in a pattern called mixed-severity – which means the fire burns unequally, in a patchwork of lightly to heavily burned areas interspersed with unburned patches. The resulting mosaic is important for wildlife and healthy forests.
“One important takeaway from our study was the interaction of fire severity and time since fire. Often, fire-related studies measure the short-term impact and compare only burned versus unburned areas, however, in this case, we saw bird species that initially decreased, increasing by the end of the study and doing so with greater magnitude in areas that were more severely burned,” says Jaime Stephens, Klamath Bird Observatory’s Science Director and the study’s lead author.
Some of the birds that increased over the longer term were species like the Olive-sided Flycatcher, a species of conservation concern in the West. Immediately after the fire, this species was decreasing, but over time, it increased because areas that burned with high-severity resulted in standing dead trees where the flycatchers nest, and a shrub understory re-growth that provided the flycatchers with ample insect food. The House Wren, Lazuli Bunting, and Lesser Goldfinch had a similar story – they increased in areas that were burned and more so with increasing fire severity. The length of the study shed light on how a forest recovers from a mixed severity burn, detecting patterns that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.
“After more than 100 years of fire suppression, and now exacerbated by the effects of climate change, our forests may be at-risk of burning at uncharacteristically high severities. Today, forest managers are trying to remedy this problem with thinning and controlled fire, however, these common techniques sometimes fail to replicate the impact of a natural wildfire,” says Jaime Stephens, Science Director, Klamath Bird Observatory.
“The findings of this study can inform management actions, particularly when objectives relate to maintaining or improving ecosystem function” says Jena Volpe, Fire Ecologist, Bureau of Land Management. “Additionally, having long-term post-fire data, relevant to southwest Oregon, greatly improves our understanding of vegetation succession and fuel condition changes across our diverse landscape.”
So what does the study mean for forest management? The challenge of managing western forests in the face of climate change, drought, and a history of fire suppression is not easy. Results from this study show the importance of management techniques that mimic conditions created by a mixed-severity fire: a patchwork forest type, an abundance of snags, and allowing natural regeneration of shrubs. Using these techniques will make it more likely future fires will burn in a mosaic pattern as well, which will benefit birds and create healthy forests for years to come.
This study was funded by the Joint Fire Sciences Program, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Bureau of Land Management Medford District, and Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 Title II.
Klamath Bird Observatory (www.klamathbird.org) is fueled by partner-driven science programs. We use birds as indicators of the healthy and resilient ecosystems on which we all depend. Our science involves three integrated aspects: 1) long-term monitoring, 2) theoretical research, and 3) applied ecology. We bring our results to bear through science delivery involving partnership driven engagement in conservation planning, informing the critical decisions being made today that will have lasting influences on the health of our natural resources well into the future. Klamath Bird Observatory’s award-winning model was developed in the ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion. We now apply this model more broadly throughout the Pacific Northwest. Plus, our intensive professional education and international capacity building programs expand our influence into Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
Excepts from an interview with KBO Executive Director John Alexander were quoted in an article written by Meg Scherch Peterson and published in the Taos News. The article brings attention to the conservation challenges facing this miraculous migratory hummingbird.
Alexander describes the Rufous Hummingbird as “an indicator of habitat features that are important for the hardwood understory of the forest.” He talks about the species’ population declines and its preferred breeding habitat that is often associated with wildfire. In the article Alexander relates KBO science to post-wildfire management – “The science suggests we allow the forest to evolve naturally through successional stages. In the past, we’ve often bypassed these stages.” Alexander expresses concerns about best available science not being used to inform management.
Study results represent the first published documentation of El Niño’s influence on the survival of a resident tropical landbird and suggest that mature, un-fragmented forests may offer refuge in a changing climate
*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***
June 23, 2015
Contact: Jared Wolfe, jdw[AT]KlamathBird.org, 262-443-6866
Habitat alteration due to forest clearing and climate change threaten wildlife populations across the globe. To better understand the interacting effects of habitat degradation and climate on bird populations, researchers from the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW), Klamath Bird Observatory, and Costa Rica Bird Observatories spent 12 years studying the White-collared Manakin, a fruit-eating tropical bird, in mature and young forests along the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. During the study, several El Niño and La Niña events—cycles of warm and cold ocean temperatures that influence air temperature and precipitation—resulted in very marked dry and wet annual conditions that allowed researchers to measure differences in manakin survival relative to climatic shifts. Results were recently published as the cover article in the journal Oecologia July 2015 edition.
In young tropical forests, researchers found dramatic decreases in manakins’ survival during dry weather associated with El Niño. Researchers believe that, due to a sparser canopy and their fragmented nature, the young forests were more susceptible to understory drying that reduced fruit production. Conversely, manakins’ survival rates were higher during wet years associated with La Niña events in these young forests where increased moisture and sun exposure likely led to an abundance of fruit resources. In mature forests, researchers observed very stable manakin survival rates regardless of climatic shifts, suggesting a relatively constant abundance of fruit resources.
“The complex structure of mature forest is thought to serve as a climatic refuge, buffering fruiting plants from climatic changes resulting in stable manakin survival,” says Jared Wolfe, a postdoctoral researcher with PSW and Klamath Bird Observatory and the study’s lead author. “Climatic refuges, such as mature tropical forests, may be important for many resident tropical bird species faced with the decreasing availability of mature forests coupled with increases in the severity of El Niño-associated dryness.”
These study results represent the first published documentation of El Niño’s influence on the survival of a resident tropical landbird. Researchers believe that variation in manakin survival between forest types provides insight into the sensitivity of certain species to habitat alteration. “From a management perspective, understanding how climatic events affect biodiversity is critical for the development of science-based conservation strategies,” says Pablo Elizondo, the Costa Rica Bird Observatories’ executive director and co-author of the study.
This publication represents an ongoing collaboration between Klamath Bird Observatory, the US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station and International Programs, and the Costa Rica Bird Observatories.
SCIENCE BRIEF – High ranking priority conservation areas concentrated in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion
A new paper published in the journal Conservation Biology presents results from a novel conservation planning approach. This approach uses detailed data that predict the density of bird species across landscapes, as opposed to probability of occurrence models more typically used in conservation planning. These density-based models are better suited for identifying the highest priority conservation areas. The models were used to identify priority conservation areas in the Pacific Northwest. The results show a concentration of high ranking conservation areas in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion. The Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion is recognized as an area of great biological diversity and as an important area for avian diversity. This new paper further demonstrates that the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion stands out as an important area for conservation focus.
This newly released Conservation Biology paper, titled Improving Effectiveness of Systematic Conservation Planning with Density Data represents collaboration among scientists from Klamath Bird Observatory, American Bird Conservancy, and Point Blue Conservation Science and was made possible with funding from the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative and data contributed from many Avian Knowledge Network partners.
Collaborative Partnerships and Data Sharing Result in Novel Approach for Better Conservation Planning
*** SCIENCE BRIEF AND NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***
June 17, 2015
Contact: John Alexander, jda [AT] KlamathBird.org, 541-201-0866 x1#
A recent study published in the journal Conservation Biology makes a strong case for a new approach to conservation planning that uses much more robust data sets in order to better protect birds, plants, and animals. The concept is fairly simple, but won’t work unless scientists can agree to share data across studies.
“Right now, we primarily only use presence and absence data for species when conservation planning for large landscapes. Much of this is due to the cost and time of collecting more comprehensive data,” said the study’s lead author, Sam Veloz, climate adaptation group leader at Point Blue Conservation Science. “We can do a much better job of conservation planning if we include data on individual species richness, not just whether they are present.”
To illustrate this point, a research collaboration including authors from Point Blue, American Bird Conservancy, and Klamath Bird Observatory encouraged partners to make their detailed bird observation data accessible through the Avian Knowledge Network. Members of the Oregon/Washington Partners in Flight bird conservation community rallied to the call and over 900,000 new bird observations from 23 different studies were contributed to the Avian Knowledge Network through the Avian Knowledge Northwest node. These data were then combined with bird data from the California Avian Data Center and used to develop both presence/absence species distribution models and density models covering coastal Northern California, Oregon and Washington for 26 species of land birds representing four different habitat types. These models are freely available as part of the Pacific Northwest Climate Change Avian Vulnerability Tool available at Avian Knowledge Northwest.
To demonstrate the value of this large and detailed dataset, the Point Blue, American Bird Conservancy, and Klamath Bird Observatory researchers mapped conservation priority areas based on both the presence/absence and density models and compared the estimated population size protected in priority areas mapped using each method. “As expected, we found that the prioritizations based on count data protected more individuals of each species than the prioritizations based on presence/absence data in the areas of highest conservation priority,” Veloz said.
Veloz sees the main challenge is getting scientists from across the conservation spectrum to share their high-quality count data of individual species, no matter the study size, so planners can have as broad a dataset as possible when drawing up conservation plans. “This study shows the value of researchers sharing their data. We can combine and recycle data from multiple studies, and re-use it to answer larger conservation questions,” Veloz said. “If we all worked together to share data, we could better prioritize and protect important habitat.”
This study was funded by the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative.
Full citation: Veloz, S., Salas, L., Altman, B., Alexander, J., Jongsomjit, D., Elliott, N., Ballard, G. 2015. Improving effectiveness of systematic conservation planning with density data. Conservation Biology. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12499/abstract.
Klamath Bird Observatory’s collaborative conservation planning approach is fueled with results from partner-driven science programs. These science programs use birds as indicators of the healthy and resilient ecosystems on which we all depend. The science involves three coordinated aspects:
- Long-term monitoring that provides information about broad-scaled changes in the condition of our world;
- More in-depth theoretical research about how natural and human influences affect our land, air, and water; and
- Applied ecology projects that directly address priority natural resource management challenges.
Klamath Bird Observatory Science-based Conservation: Local, Regional, and International
Klamath Bird Observatory’s award-winning conservation model is applied at local, regional, and international scales.
- We developed our model locally in the ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of northern California and southern Oregon where we maintain intensive science and conservation planning efforts.
- We now provide scientific resources and decision support across the Pacific Northwest region through the Avian Knowledge Northwest node of the Avian Knowledge Network.
- Our intensive professional education and international capacity building programs expand our influence into Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean where we actively support partners who are applying our model through a network of locally driven programs aimed at protecting birds throughout their breeding, migration, and wintering ranges.
Klamath Bird Observatory Conservation Model Applied: Restoration for Oak Woodland Birds and Their Habitats
Our work to advance oak woodland conservation provides a classic example of this model in action. Our science provides:
- A clear sign that oak woodland bird populations are in decline;
- Information about their habitat needs and the possible influence of climate change on their health and distribution; and
- Results that tell us what kind of management actions benefit these species.