Ecological restoration is a key tool in offsetting habitat loss that threatens biodiversity worldwide, but few projects are rigorously evaluated to determine if conservation objectives are achieved. We tested whether restoration outcomes for an imperiled bird, the Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera; GWWA) met the assumptions of the ‘Field of Dreams’ hypothesis or whether local and regional population dynamics impacted restoration success. From 2015 to 18, we surveyed 514 points located in recently restored successional habitats. We used new- and published data on the survival of 341 nests and 258 fledglings to estimate GWWA breeding productivity. Occupancy and colonization of restored habitats were significantly higher in our Western Study Region (Minnesota and Wisconsin) than our Eastern Study Region (Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey), a pattern that mirrored broader regional population trends. At local scales, productivity was high in Eastern Pennsylvania (>3 independent juveniles/pair/year) but low in Central Pennsylvania (1 juvenile/pair/year) while both Western and Central Minnesota hosted intermediate productivity (between 1 and 2 juveniles/pair/year). Productivity and occupancy covaried locally in the Eastern Study Region, while occupancy was high in the Western Study Region, despite intermediate productivity. These differences have profound implications for restoration outcomes, as GWWA possessed robust capacity to respond to habitat restoration in both regions, but this capacity was conditional upon local productivity where the species is rare. Our findings suggest that, even when restoration efforts are focused on a single species and use comparable prescriptions, interactions among processes governing habitat selection, settlement, and productivity can yield variable restoration outcomes.
|State||Published - May 2020|
Bibliographical noteFunding 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 PA Game Commission (PGC) and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation . 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.
We thank the PA Bureau of Forestry, the PA Game Commission, MD Dept of Natural Resources, Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), and Tamarack NWR for logistical support. This effort would not have been possible without the efforts of many volunteers and paid field technicians. We are thankful for the efforts of two anonymous reviewers who made insightful suggestions to improve this manuscript ? their comments improved this paper substantially. We would like to recognize the many NRCS field office staff and their conservation partners who dedicate their careers to private lands conservation. Finally, we are grateful to the hundreds of private landowners and public land managers who provided us access to their lands and enthusiastically supported our efforts. All work was conducted in accordance with USGS banding permit # 23277 and the guidelines of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees of both Cornell Univ. (#2013-029) and Indiana Univ. of PA (#14-1314). None of the authors of this manuscript have competing interests or conflicts of interest to report. 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 PA Game Commission (PGC) and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. 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.
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd
- Field of dreams
- Fledging survival
- Full season productivity
- Habitat restoration
- Nest survival
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation