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Warblers in trouble due to South American deforestation

Cara J

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Golden-winged warbler populations have plummeted in recent decades, even as conservationists have rushed to secure their breeding areas in the Appalachian and Great Lakes regions. Using cutting-edge trackers, researchers recently discovered that the problem could be deforestation on the warblers’ wintering grounds, and they suggest widening habitat conservation to South America to counter the species’ decline. “Factors in all these places this migratory species is using can limit populations,” said Gunnar Kramer, first author on the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “We found evidence for broad-scale deforestation on nonbreeding grounds — a driver of these population trends. Nonbreeding grounds are a priority, and we should refocus our efforts to assess those issues.” An estimated 400,000 golden-winged warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera) reproduce around either the Great Lakes — from Manitoba and Minnesota to Michigan and Ontario — or the Appalachian Mountains — from Tennessee and North Carolina up into Vermont. The Appalachian warblers’ numbers have shrunk by up to 98 percent, and they’ve disappeared from sites they once used to inhabit in the eastern United States. The Great Lakes warblers, on the other hand, are stable and currently constitute 95 percent of the species. From 2013 [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/warblers-in-trouble-due-to-south-american-deforestation/

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