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Title: From trees to seas--Marbled Murrelet numbers are down

Author: Raphael, Martin G.; Falxa, Gary A.; O'Callaghan, Joan.;

Date: 2013

Source: Science Findings 157. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 6 p.

Publication Series: Science Findings


In 1992, the marbled murrelet population in the Pacific Northwest was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, along with the northern spotted owl and Pacific salmon. These designations were embodied in the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan, which takes an ecosystem approach to managing about 25 million acres of federal lands, with a goal of maintaining and restoring these species’ habitats and populations.

Scientists with the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Southwest Research Stations as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife have found that, despite the plan’s conservation efforts, marbled murrelet populations declined almost 30 percent from 2000 to 2010 in Washington, Oregon, and northern California.

Although reasons for this decline are unclear, logging of large, older coniferous forest on nonfederal lands within the murrelet’s range is one likely cause, along with wildfire, windstorms, increased predation on murrelet eggs and chicks, and changing ocean conditions. Suitable nesting habitat is well protected on federal lands; however, about a third of this suitable nesting habitat occurs on nonfederal lands, where protections are less and losses are much greater than for federally managed habitat.

Keywords: marbled murrelet, monitoring, Northwest Forest Plan

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Raphael, Martin G.; Falxa, Gary A.; O'Callaghan, Joan. 2013. From trees to seas—marbled murrelet numbers are down. Science Findings 157. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 6 p.


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