Preserving isolated patches of habitat isn't enough to save species such as Bachman's Sparrow (Peucaea aestivalis) that depend on longleaf pine; habitat connectivity at the landscape level is also crucial. That is the message of a new paper by Paul Taillie, M. Nils Peterson, and Christopher Moorman of North Carolina State University, published this week in The Condor: Ornithological Applications.
In the past, fire-dependent longleaf pine forests covered vast, unbroken areas of the southeastern U.S., and Bachman's Sparrows and other species adapted to live in this expansive habitat. Today, however, longleaf pines exist primarily in isolated patches surrounded by agriculture and urban development.
To see whether small but well-managed patches of longleaf pine were enough to support healthy Bachman's Sparrow populations, Taillie and his colleagues surveyed Bachman's Sparrows in 111 habitat patches in spring 2011 and tested what factors best explained their distribution.
They found that while the sparrows did prefer patches that had been burned recently, an even stronger predictor of the presence or absence of Bachman's Sparrows was how much of the land within three kilometers was devoted to longleaf pine--that is, how connected a patch was to a larger longleaf pine landscape.
"While we know a lot about the local habitat characteristics affecting Bachman's Sparrow habitat selection, we don't know much about the role of landscape-level factors," explains Taillie. "As a result of this research, we found that habitat selection actually appears to depend on a very broad range of scales, from 100 meters to several kilometers.
Other studies have shown similar patterns for other species associated with longleaf pine, which suggests that connectivity may be important to the function of the greater ecosystem, and possibly other highly fragmented ecosystems as well. Thus, conservation management and planning efforts, such as prescribed burning, habitat restoration, and land acquisition, should also consider a broad range of scales to benefit the diverse assemblage of organisms that comprise this community."
"Taillie, Peterson and Moorman have made a significant contribution to the understanding of Bachman's sparrow's use of the landscape in eastern North Carolina," adds Jeff Marcus of the Nature Conservancy, a longleaf pine management expert who was not involved in the research.
"As the broader conservation community strives to restore and enhance longleaf pine habitat across its range, it is important to understand not only the habitat characteristics but also the landscape characteristics that will lead to the most robust and resilient outcome for longleaf-associated species. The Bachman's sparrow is an excellent indicator species to help inform longleaf pine habitat needs because it is closely tied to well-managed longleaf habitat."
"The relative importance of multiscale factors in the distribution of Bachman's Sparrow and the implications for ecosystem conservation" is an open-access paper that can be viewed at http://www.
About the journal: The Condor: Ornithological Applications is a peer-reviewed, international journal of ornithology. The journal began in 1899 as the journal of the Cooper Ornithological Club, a group of ornithologists in California that became the Cooper Ornithological Society.
Paul Taillie | EurekAlert!
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy