Multiscale drivers of restoration outcomes for an imperiled songbird

Darin J. McNeil, Amanda D. Rodewald, Viviana Ruiz-Gutierrez, Kirsten E. Johnson, Matt Strimas-Mackey, Sharon Petzinger, Orin J. Robinson, Gerardo E. Soto, Andre A. Dhondt, Jeffery L. Larkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Habitat restoration is a cornerstone of conservation, particularly for habitat-limited species. However, restoration efforts are seldom rigorously monitored at meaningful spatial scales. Poor understanding of how species respond to habitat restoration programs limits conservation efficacy for habitat-restricted species like the Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera, GWWA). We provide one of the first concerted assessments of a national conservation program aimed at restoring songbird habitat across its breeding range. We studied GWWA response to forest habitat restoration across two broad regions with opposing population trajectories and assessed factors driving species use of restored habitats across multiple spatial scales. From 2015 to 2017, we conducted 1,145 (n = 457 locations) and 519 point counts (n = 215 locations) across the Appalachian Mountains and Great Lakes (respectively) within restored habitats. Warbler abundance within restored habitats across the Great Lakes varied with latitude, longitude, elevation, forest type, and number of growing seasons. In the Appalachian Mountains, occupancy ((Formula presented.)) varied with longitude, elevation, forest type, and number of growing seasons. Detections were restricted to areas within close proximity to population centers (usually <24 km) in the Appalachian Mountains, where GWWAs are rare ((Formula presented.) = 0.22, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.20–0.25), but not in the Great Lakes, where GWWAs remain common ((Formula presented.) = 0.87, 95% CI: 0.84–0.90). Our study suggests that, even when best management practices are carefully implemented, restoration outcomes vary within/across regions and with multiscale habitat attributes. Although assessments of concerted habitat restoration efforts remain uncommon, our study demonstrates the value of monitoring data in the adaptive management process for imperiled species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)880-891
Number of pages12
JournalRestoration Ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Society for Ecological Restoration


  • early-successional
  • forest management
  • habitat conservation
  • migratory birds
  • restoration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


Dive into the research topics of 'Multiscale drivers of restoration outcomes for an imperiled songbird'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this