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Landscape-Level Habitat Connectivity Is Key for Species That Depend on Longleaf Pine

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New paper in The Condor!


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., but today longleaf pines exist primarily in isolated patches surrounded by agriculture and urban development. Taillie and his colleagues surveyed Bachman’s Sparrows in 111 habitat patches in spring 2011 and found that while the sparrows did prefer patches that had been burned recently, an even stronger predictor of their presence 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. This is an important finding for successful conservation of this threatened ecosystem. Read the full open-access paper at http://www.aoucospubs.org/doi/full/10.1650/CONDOR-14-137.1.

CONDOR-14-137 P Taillie.jpg

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