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The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of the north-central U.S. and south-central Canada contains millions of small prairie wetlands that provide critical habitat to many migrating and breeding waterbirds. Due to their small size and the relatively dry climate of the region, these wetlands are considered at high risk for negative climate change effects as temperatures increase. To estimate the potential impacts of climate change on breeding waterbirds, we predicted current and future distributions of species common in the PPR using species distribution models (SDMs). We created regional-scale SDMs for the U.S. PPR using Breeding Bird Survey occurrence records for 1971–2011 and wetland, upland, and climate variables....
Full life-cycle vulnerability assessments are identifying the effects of climate change on nongame migratory birds that are of conservation concern and breed in the upper Midwest and Great Lakes region. Full life-cycle analyses are critical, as current efforts likely underestimate the vulnerability of migratory land birds due to a focus on assessing only one component of the annual cycle. The approach provides a framework for integrating exposure to climate changes, sensitivity to these changes, and the potential for adaptation in both winter and summer seasons, and accounts for carry-over effects from one season to another. The results of this work will inform regional management by highlighting both local and...
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Within the time frame of the longevity of tree species, climate change will change faster than the ability of natural tree migration. Migration lags may result in reduced productivity and reduced diversity in forests under current management and climate change. We evaluated the efficacy of planting climate-suitable tree species (CSP), those tree species with current or historic distributions immediately south of a focal landscape, to maintain or increase aboveground biomass, productivity, and species and functional diversity. We modeled forest change with the LANDIS-II forest simulation model for 100 years (2000–2100) at a 2-ha cell resolution and five-year time steps within two landscapes in the Great Lakes region...
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Rapid expansion of cropland threatens grassland ecosystems across western North America and broad-scaleplanning can be a catalyst motivating individuals and agencies to accelerate conservation. Sprague’s Pipit(Anthus spragueii) is an imperiled grassland songbird whose population has been declining rapidly in recent decades.Here, we present a strategic framework for conservation of pipits and their habitat in the northern GreatPlains.We modeled pipit distribution across its million-km2 breeding range in Canada and the U.S.We describefactors shaping distribution, delineate population cores and assess vulnerability to future grassland losses. Pipitsselected landscapes with a high proportion of continuous grassland...
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Within the time frame of the longevity of tree species, climate change will change faster than the ability of natural tree migration. Migration lags may result in reduced productivity and reduced diversity in forests under current management and climate change. We evaluated the efficacy of planting climate-suitable tree species (CSP), those tree species with current or historic distributions immediately south of a focal landscape, to maintain or increase aboveground biomass, productivity, and species and functional diversity. We modeled forest change with the LANDIS-II forest simulation model for 100 years (2000–2100) at a 2-ha cell resolution and five-year time steps within two landscapes in the Great Lakes region...
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Comprehensive wetland inventories are an essential tool for wetland management, but developing and maintaining an inventory is expensive and technically challenging. Funding for these efforts has also been problematic. Here we describe a large-area application of a semi-automated processused to update a wetland inventory for east-central Minnesota. The original inventory for this area was the product of a laborintensive, manual photo-interpretation process. The present application incorporated high resolution, multi-spectral imagery from multiple seasons; high resolution elevation data derived from lidar; satellite radar imagery; and other GIS data. Map production combined image segmentation and random forest classification...
The habitats and food resources required to support breeding and migrant birds dependent on North American prairie wetlands are threatened by impending climate change. The North American Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) hosts nearly 120 species of wetland-dependent birds representing 21 families. Strategic management requires knowledge of avian habitat requirements and assessment of species most vulnerable to future threats. We applied bioclimatic species distribution models (SDMs) to project range changes of 29 wetland-dependent bird species using ensemble modeling techniques, a large number of General Circulation Models (GCMs), and hydrological climate covariates. For the U.S. PPR, mean projected range change, expressed...
Estimating species abundance is important for land managers, especially for monitoringconservation efforts. The two main survey methods for estimating avian abundance are point counts and transects. Previous comparisons of these two methods have either been limited to a single species or have not included detection probability. During the 2012 breeding season, we compared and assessed the efficiency (precision for amount of effort) of point count time of detection (PCTD) and dependent double-observer transect (TRMO) methods based on detection probabilities and abundance estimates of five species of songbirds that use a range of habitats in a prairie system in Montana dominated by sagebrush and grassland vegetation....
Many waterbird species utilize a diversity of aquatic habitats; however, with increasing anthropogenic needs tomanage water regimes there is global concern over impacts to waterbird populations. The federally threatened pipingplover (Charadrius melodus; hereafter plovers) is a shorebird that breeds in three habitat types in the Prairie PotholeRegion of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Canada: riverine sandbars; reservoir shorelines; and prairie wetlands. Watersurface areas of these habitats fluctuate in response to wet–dry periods; decreasing water surface areas exposeshorelines that plovers utilize for nesting. Climate varies across the region so when other habitats are unavailable forplover nesting because of flooding,...
Identifying the climatic drivers of an ecological system is a key step in assessing its vulnerability to climate change. Theclimatic dimensions to which a species or system is most sensitive – such as means or extremes – can guide methodologicaldecisions for projections of ecological impacts and vulnerabilities. However, scientific workflows for combining climateprojections with ecological models have received little explicit attention. We review Global Climate Model (GCM)performance along different dimensions of change and compare frameworks for integrating GCM output into ecologicalmodels. In systems sensitive to climatological means, it is straightforward to base ecological impact assessments onmean projected...
Oil development in the Bakken shale region has increased rapidly as a result of new technologies and strongdemand for fossil fuel. This region also supports a particularly high density and diversity of grassland bird species,which are declining across North America. We examined grassland bird response to unconventional oilextraction sites (i.e. developed with hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques) and associatedroads in North Dakota. Our goal was to quantify the amount of habitat that was indirectly degraded by oil development,as evidenced by patterns of avoidance by birds. Grassland birds avoided areas within 150 m of roads(95% CI: 87–214 m), 267 m of single-bore well pads (95% CI: 157–378 m),...
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Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) are public-private partnerships composed of states, tribes, federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities, international jurisdictions, and others working together to address landscape and seascape scale conservation issues. LCCs inform resource management decisions to address broad-scale stressors-including habitat fragmentation, genetic isolation, spread of invasive species, and water scarcity-all of which are magnified by a rapidly changing climate. For further information go to http://lccnetwork.org. The previous 2011 LCC Network Areas data is available at https://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/item/52f2735ee4b0a6f0bd498c2f
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Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) are public-private partnerships composed of states, tribes, federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities, international jurisdictions, and others working together to address landscape and seascape scale conservation issues. LCCs inform resource management decisions to address broad-scale stressors-including habitat fragmentation, genetic isolation, spread of invasive species, and water scarcity-all of which are magnified by a rapidly changing climate. For further information go to http://lccnetwork.org. The previous 2011 LCC Network Areas data is available at https://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/item/52f2735ee4b0a6f0bd498c2f
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There is mounting concern that climate change will lead to the collapse of cyclic population dynamics, yet the influence of climate variability on population cycling remains poorly understood. We hypothesized that variability in survival and fecundity, driven by climate variability at different points in the life cycle, scales up from local populations to drive regional characteristics of population cycling and spatial synchronization.
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Northern Great Lakes forests represent an ecotone in the boreal–temperate transition zone and are expected to change dramatically with climate change. Managers are increasingly seeking adaptation strategies to manage these forests. We explored the efficacy of two alternative management scenarios compared with business-as-usual (BAU) management: expanding forest reserves meant to preserve forest identity and increase resistance, and modified silviculture meant to preserve forest function and increase adaptive capacity. Our study landscapes encompassed northeastern Minnesota and northern Lower Michigan, which are predicted to experience significant changes in a future climate and represent a gradient of latitude,...
Sediment accumulation threatens the viability and hydrologic functioning of many naturally formed depressional wetlands across the interior regions of North America. These wetlands provide many ecosystem services and vital habitats for diverse plant and animal communities. Climate change may further impact sediment accumulation rates in the context of current land use patterns. We estimated sediment accretion in wetlands within a region renowned for its large populations of breeding waterfowl and migrant shorebirds and examined the relative roles of precipitation and land use context in the sedimentation process. We modeled rates of sediment accumulation from 1971 through 2100 using the Revised Universal Soil Loss...
Many waterbird species utilize a diversity of aquatic habitats; however, with increasing anthropogenic needs tomanage water regimes there is global concern over impacts to waterbird populations. The federally threatened pipingplover (Charadrius melodus; hereafter plovers) is a shorebird that breeds in three habitat types in the Prairie PotholeRegion of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Canada: riverine sandbars; reservoir shorelines; and prairie wetlands. Watersurface areas of these habitats fluctuate in response to wet–dry periods; decreasing water surface areas exposeshorelines that plovers utilize for nesting. Climate varies across the region so when other habitats are unavailable forplover nesting because of flooding,...
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Developing conservation strategies for threatened species increasingly requires understanding vulnerabilities to climate change, in terms of both demographic sensitivities to climatic and other environmental factors, and exposure to variability in those factors over time and space. Weconducted a range-wide, spatially explicit climate change vulnerability assessment for Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus), a declining endemic species in a region showing strong environmental change. Using active season and winter adult survival estimates derived from 17 data sets throughout the species’ range, we identified demographic sensitivities to winter drought, maximum precipitation during the summer, and the proportion...
Climate change poses major challenges for conservation and management because it alters the area, quality, and spatial distribution of habitat for natural populations. To assess species’ vulnerability to climate change and target ongoing conservation investments, researchers and managers often consider the effects of projected changes in climate and land use on future habitat availability and quality and the uncertainty associated with these projections. Here, we draw on tools from hydrology and climate science to project the impact of climate change on the density of wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of the USA, a critical area for breeding waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species. We evaluate the potential...
Conservation of biological communities requires accurate estimates of abundance for multiple species. Recent advances in estimating abundance of multiple species, such as Bayesian multispecies N-mixture models, account for multiple sources of variation, including detection error. However, false-positiveerrors (misidentification or double counts), which are prevalent in multispecies data sets, remain largely unaddressed. The dependent-double observer (DDO) method is an emerging method that both accounts for detection error and is suggested to reduce the occurrence of false positives because it relies on two observers working collaboratively to identify individuals. To date, the DDO method has not been combined with...


map background search result map search result map Publication: Climate variability drives population cycling and synchrony Publication: Demographic consequences of climate change and land cover help explain a history of extirpations and range contraction in a declining snake species Publication: A Semi-Automated, Multi-Source Data Fusion Update of aWetland Inventory for East-Central Minnesota Publication: Measuring and managing resistance and resilience under climate change in northern Great Lake forests Publication: Climate change effects on northern Great Lake (USA) forests: A case for preserving diversity Publication: Effects of alternative forest management on biomass and species diversity in the face of climate change in the northern Great Lakes region One step ahead of the plow: Using cropland conversion risk to guide Sprague's Pipit conservation in the northern Great Plains One step ahead of the plow: Using cropland conversion risk to guide Sprague's Pipit conservation in the northern Great Plains Publication: A Semi-Automated, Multi-Source Data Fusion Update of aWetland Inventory for East-Central Minnesota Publication: Measuring and managing resistance and resilience under climate change in northern Great Lake forests Publication: Climate change effects on northern Great Lake (USA) forests: A case for preserving diversity Publication: Effects of alternative forest management on biomass and species diversity in the face of climate change in the northern Great Lakes region Publication: Climate variability drives population cycling and synchrony Publication: Demographic consequences of climate change and land cover help explain a history of extirpations and range contraction in a declining snake species