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

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

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
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was primarily funded by the United States Department of Agriculture—Natural Resource Conservation Service “Conservation Effects Assessment Project” (CEAP) grant (# 68‐7482‐12‐502). Additionally, we are grateful for funding from the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and American Bird Conservancy. We thank the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and Tamarack National Wildlife Refuge for logistical assistance and access to their lands. We are grateful to Dr J. Bowman and two anonymous reviewers who strengthened this manuscript substantially with their comments and suggestions. This effort would not be possible without the efforts of many volunteers and paid field technicians. We would like to recognize the many NRCS field office staff and their conservation partners who dedicate their careers to private lands conservation. This research would have also been impossible without the assistance of hundreds of private landowners who granted us access to their lands for monitoring and, through habitat implementation, have become stewards of Golden‐winged Warbler nesting habitat. All work was conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees of both Cornell University (#2013‐029) and Indiana University of PA (#14‐1314). None of the authors of this manuscript have competing interests or conflicts of interest to report. Our funding sources did not require a review of our manuscript prior to publication, nor did they affect our data collection, results, or interpretation of analyses in any way.

Funding Information:
This project was primarily funded by the United States Department of Agriculture?Natural Resource Conservation Service ?Conservation Effects Assessment Project? (CEAP) grant (# 68-7482-12-502). Additionally, we are grateful for funding from the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and American Bird Conservancy. We thank the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and Tamarack National Wildlife Refuge for logistical assistance and access to their lands. We are grateful to Dr J. Bowman and two anonymous reviewers who strengthened this manuscript substantially with their comments and suggestions. This effort would not be possible without the efforts of many volunteers and paid field technicians. We would like to recognize the many NRCS field office staff and their conservation partners who dedicate their careers to private lands conservation. This research would have also been impossible without the assistance of hundreds of private landowners who granted us access to their lands for monitoring and, through habitat implementation, have become stewards of Golden-winged Warbler nesting habitat. All work was conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees of both Cornell University (#2013-029) and Indiana University of PA (#14-1314). None of the authors of this manuscript have competing interests or conflicts of interest to report. Our funding sources did not require a review of our manuscript prior to publication, nor did they affect our data collection, results, or interpretation of analyses in any way.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Society for Ecological Restoration

Keywords

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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