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Publication Information

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Title: Conservation of the marbled murrelet under the northwest forest plan.

Author: Raphael, Martin G.;

Date: 2006

Source: Conservation Biology. 20(2): 297-305

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: The Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) was listed as threatened in 1992, primarily because of loss of its old-forest nesting habitat. Monitoring conducted over the first 10 years following implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan shows at-sea murrelet populations appear to be stationary, but recruitment is very low and demographic models project a 4-6% annual rate of decline. Monitoring of nesting habitat indicated there were about 1.6 million ha of higher-suitability nesting habitat on all lands at the start of the plan, about half of which occurred on federal lands. Most (88%) of higher-suitability habitat on federal lands was protected within reserves. Over the past 10 years, losses of habitat due primarily to fire have totaled about 2% on federal lands. Losses have been much greater (12%) on nonfederal lands, due primarily to timber harvest. Habitat is expected to accrue within reserves as younger forest matures and attains sufficient diameter to support nesting sites. At-sea estimates of population size are strongly and positively correlated with amounts of adjacent nesting habitat at a broad scale, supporting the idea that amounts of nesting habitat are a primary driver in wide-scale murrelet population distribution. Conditions at sea, however; such as temperature regimes, prey availability, and pollutants, continue to affect murrelet populations. The system of large reserves seems to have achieved the short-term objective of conserving much of the remaining nesting habitat on federal lands. These reserves are also likely to contribute to the long-term objective of creating large, contiguous blocks of nesting habitat. The plan has a primary role in conserving and restoring nesting habitat on federal land but will succeed in this role only if land allocations calling for such protection are in place for many decades.

Keywords: Brachyramphus marmoratus, conservation planning, forest management

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Raphael, Martin G. 2006. Conservation of the marbled murrelet under the northwest forest plan. Conservation Biology. 20(2): 297-305


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