Design and implementation for sustaining wildlife populations in NE forests

Northeastern forests provide essential habitat for a large suite of birds and mammals that occur in no other setting. This group includes several habitat specialists listed as species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) in multiple states. Their vulnerability to various stressors has prompted the formation of several species-­‐level conservation and research initiatives. We propose to work with these focused partnerships and with key forest stewards to integrate current ecological and biogeographic information into on-­‐ the-­‐ground habitat enhancement. This collaboration will produce spatially explicit management and conservation support for five regional SGCN whose combined ranges encompass thirteen northeastern states. The focal species are: Bicknell’s Thrush, Wood Thrush, Canada Warbler, Rusty Blackbird, and American Marten. By engaging both experts and end users, we will produce scientifically sound and practical guidelines for conserving these species and other SGCN in their guilds. In addition, we will use available occurrence data, distribution models, and stakeholder input to delineate and prioritize areas that exhibit high management and conservation potential. To promote uptake, we will upload the best practices and GIS layers to online information networks and mapping platforms. Furthermore, we will work directly with habitat stewards to ensure that the recommended practices are implemented in management and conservation opportunity areas. This two-­‐year project will focus on the analysis and exchange of information in year one, followed by dissemination and application of habitat guidelines and maps in year two. Bridging wildlife science and forest stewardship in a deliberate, inclusive process will expedite tangible results for these and other SGCN.


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Update: February 2017

Progress Achieved: (For each Goal/Objective, list Planned and Actual Accomplishments)

Objective 1

Develop specifications for habitat guidelines based on the information needs of land stewards.

Planned Accomplishment: A standardized template for focal species habitat guidelines, including a style guide and design specifications.

Actual Accomplishment: Objective completed during second quarter of 2015.

Objective 2

Produce and disseminate habitat guidelines for the six focal species, addressing overlap in desired conditions with other regional species of greatest conservation need.

Planned Accomplishment (this quarter): Write and revise guidelines

Actual Accomplishments: Incorporated reviewer feedback into new drafts of the American Marten and Wood Thrush. Produced a review draft for Bicknell’s thrush.

Objective 3

Delineate management and conservation opportunity areas for each of the focal species within the northeastern United States.

Planned Accomplishments (this quarter): Initiate mapping of management and conservation opportunity areas.

Actual Accomplishments: We completed final drafts of management and conservation opportunity maps for: Canada Warbler, Rusty Blackbird, Scarlet Tanager, and Wood Thrush. We also collected relevant habitat suitability information for Bicknell’s Thrush and American Marten. These will be compiled and submitted separately from the habitat guidelines in the final grant report, as per guidance from the Northeast Fish and Wildlife Diversity Technical Committee.

Objective 4

Cultivate and verify the intent of at least five cooperating habitat stewards to implement focal species guidelines within designated management and conservation opportunity areas.

Planned Accomplishments (this quarter): Continue land steward outreach

Actual Accomplishments: Verified the intent of the National Wildlife Refuge System’s Northeast regional forest ecologist to implement Rusty Blackbird habitat guidelines on four refuges that lie within the species’ northeastern US breeding range.

Expected end date: December 31, 2016

Progress Reports

Project Leader

Name: Dan Lambert, M.Sc.

Title: Consulting Ecologist

Organization: High Branch Conservation Services


Address: 3 Linden Road, Hartland, VT 05048

Phone: 802-436-4065

Other Principal Investigators

Name: Leonard Reitsma, Ph.D

Title: Professor of Ecology

Organization: Plymouth State University


Address: 17 High Street, MSC 64, Plymouth, NH 03264

Phone: 603-535-2558

Name: Andrew Toepfer, M.Sc.

Title: GIS Analyst and Cartographer

Organization: Andrew Toepfer Natural Resource Mapping


Address: PO Box 474, Saxtons River, VT 05154