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!
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences