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Publication Information

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Title: Setting numerical population objectives for priority landbird species

Author: Rosenberg, Kenneth V.; Blancher, Peter J.;

Date: 2005

Source: In: Ralph, C. John; Rich, Terrell D., editors 2005. Bird Conservation Implementation and Integration in the Americas: Proceedings of the Third International Partners in Flight Conference. 2002 March 20-24; Asilomar, California, Volume 1 Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191. Albany, CA: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: p. 57-67

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Following the example of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, deriving numerical population estimates and conservation targets for priority landbird species is considered a desirable, if not necessary, element of the Partners in Flight planning process. Methodology for deriving such estimates remains in its infancy, however, and the use of numerical population targets remains controversial within the conservation and academic communities. By allowing a set of simple assumptions regarding species' detectability, relative abundance data from Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) routes may be extrapolated to derive first approximations of current, total species populations, both rangewide and within Bird Conservation Regions. Preliminary comparisons with independently derived abundance estimates (e.g., Breeding Bird Atlas) suggest that these population estimates are within acceptable limits of accuracy for many species. If restoring populations to early BBS levels (late 1960s) is desirable, trend data may be used to calculate the proportion of a species' population lost during this 35-year period, and an appropriate population target may be set. For example, in the Lower Great lakes/St. Lawrence Plain, BBS data indicate a current (1990-1999) population of about 14,000 Redheaded Woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) and a loss of >50 percent since 1966. A reasonable conservation objective, therefore, may be to double the Red-headed Woodpecker population in this region over some future time period. We encourage the use of numerical population estimates and conservation targets in implementing conservation objectives for priority landbird species, and we encourage further research that leads to refinement of our methodology and our estimates.

Keywords: Breeding Bird Survey, landbirds, population estimates, population objectives

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Rosenberg, Kenneth V.; Blancher, Peter J. 2005. Setting numerical population objectives for priority landbird species. In: Ralph, C. John; Rich, Terrell D., editors 2005. Bird Conservation Implementation and Integration in the Americas: Proceedings of the Third International Partners in Flight Conference. 2002 March 20-24; Asilomar, California, Volume 1 Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191. Albany, CA: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: p. 57-67

 


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