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Bird Conservation Planning in the Interior Low Plateaus

Published Aug 18, 2010

Worm Eating Warbler
The Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorus) inhabits the Interior Low Plateaus

Researchers at Cornell used Gap state data, along with satellite imagery, GIS, and Breeding Bird Atlas data to develop landscape-level habitat models for the Interior Low Plateaus. Their goals were to identify areas of species richness, identify and prioritize areas for potential acquisition or partnerships, identify areas with high restoration potential, identify areas where nesting bird management is a priority, and identify areas that require more intensive inventories.

Habitats in the Interior Low Plateaus are highly fragmented. Public lands make up less than 5% of the total area, thus making informed decisions about which conservation lands to focus on is extremely important. The conservation planning goals were accomplished by using GAP land cover maps in conjunction with breeding bird atlas data and known boundaries from public and private cooperators lands. Breeding bird distribution and relative abundance were documented in each state. Breeding bird species, assemblages, and habitats were prioritized and boundary maps for current cooperator lands were included in the GIS.

Priority breeding bird atlas blocks were identified and placed in one of four conservation planning categories based on proximity to cooperator lands, needed inventory, and habitat characteristics.

 The Result

Prioritization offers an opportunity to better manage areas by maximizing opportunities for partnership and collaboration. In addition, some habitat consolidation may be pursued.


Bonney, Rick, David N. Pashley, Robert J. Cooper, and Larry Niles, eds. 1999. Strategies for Bird Conservation: The Partners in Flight Planning Process. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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