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Petaluma, CA, United States

DiGaudio R.T.,Pacific Coast and Central Valley Group | Kreitinger K.E.,Wisconsin Society for Ornithology | Hickey C.M.,Pacific Coast and Central Valley Group | Seavy N.E.,Pacific Coast and Central Valley Group | Gardali T.,Pacific Coast and Central Valley Group
California Agriculture

To address the loss of wetlands and riparian forests in California, private lands habitat programs are available through U.S. federal and state government agencies to help growers, ranchers and other private landowners create and enhance wildlife habitat. The programs provide financial and technical assistance for implementing conservation practices. To evaluate the benefits of these programs for wildlife, we examined bird use of private wetlands, postharvest flooded croplands and riparian forests enrolled in habitat programs in the Central Valley and North Coast regions of California. We found that private Central Valley wetlands supported 181 bird species during the breeding season. During fall migration, postharvest flooded croplands supported wetland-dependent species and a higher density of shorebirds than did semipermanent wetlands. At the riparian sites, bird species richness increased after restoration. These results demonstrated that the programs provided habitat for the species they were designed to protect; a variety of resident and migratory bird species used the habitats, and many special status species were recorded at the sites. Source

Gardali T.,Pacific Coast and Central Valley Group | Seavy N.E.,Pacific Coast and Central Valley Group | DiGaudio R.T.,Emerging Programs and Partnerships Group | Comrack L.A.,Nongame Wildlife Program

Conservationists must develop new strategies and adapt existing tools to address the consequences of anthropogenic climate change. To support statewide climate change adaptation, we developed a framework for assessing climate change vulnerability of California's at-risk birds and integrating it into the existing California Bird Species of Special Concern list. We defined climate vulnerability as the amount of evidence that climate change will negatively impact a population. We quantified climate vulnerability by scoring sensitivity (intrinsic characteristics of an organism that make it vulnerable) and exposure (the magnitude of climate change expected) for each taxon. Using the combined sensitivity and exposure scores as an index, we ranked 358 avian taxa, and classified 128 as vulnerable to climate change. Birds associated with wetlands had the largest representation on the list relative to other habitat groups. Of the 29 state or federally listed taxa, 21 were also classified as climate vulnerable, further raising their conservation concern. Integrating climate vulnerability and California's Bird Species of Special Concern list resulted in the addition of five taxa and an increase in priority rank for ten. Our process illustrates a simple, immediate action that can be taken to inform climate change adaptation strategies for wildlife. © 2012 Gardali et al. Source

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