Individual species often drive habitat restoration action; however, management under this paradigm may negatively affect non-target species. Prioritization frameworks which explicitly consider benefits to target species while minimizing consequences for non-target species may drastically improve management strategies. We examined extents to which conifer removal, an approach frequently implemented to restore sagebrush ecosystems, can be conducted without detrimental effects to conifer-associated species, including the imperiled Pinyon Jay (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus). Additionally, we predicted abundance responses for multiple species following simulated conifer removal at sites selected to achieve variable management objectives. We used model-predicted changes in species’ densities following simulated conifer removal to identify optimal removal sites under single species, multi-species (ecosystem), and multi-ecosystem management scenarios. We simulated conifer removal at prioritized sites under these scenarios using an integer linear programming algorithm and evaluated resulting abundances for six songbird species. The resulting maps represent prioritized pixels for conifer removal inside of priority areas for conservation (PACs) which occur within the Utah portion of Bird Conservation Region 16. Sites identified to receive conifer removal treatments which minimize effects to the pinyon jay, under three different budget scenarios, are represented in three raster layers: pija_3.tif, pija_6.tif, pija_9.tif. Sites identified for conifer removal treatments which maximize outcomes for Brewer’s Sparrow are represented in brsp_6.tif. Sites identified for conifer removal treatments which maximize outcomes for sagebrush-associated species; Brewer’s Sparrow (Spizella breweri), Sagebrush Sparrow (Artemisiospiza nevadensis), and Sage Thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus) are represented in sb_ecosystem_6.tif. Sites identified for conifer removal which minimize negative outcomes for pinyon-juniper associated species; Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii), Gray Flycatcher (Empidonax wrightii), and Pinyon Jay are represented in pj_ecosystem_6.tif. Sites identified for conifer removal treatments which maximize outcomes for all six songbird species are represented in multi_ecosystem_6.tif. Sites identified for conifer removal treatments which maximize outcomes for Brewer’s Sparrow, Sagebrush Sparrow, and Sage Thrasher and which weight outcomes for Pinyon Jay three times more heavily than the other species are represented in sb_ecoystem_pijawt_6.tif. Finally, sites identified for conifer removal treatments which maximize outcomes for all six species, while weighting outcomes for Pinyon Jay three times more heavily than all other species are represented in multi_ecoystem_pijawt_6.tif.
|Title||Prioritized sites for conifer removal within the Utah portion of Bird Conservation Region 16, 2020|
|Authors||Nicholas J Van Lanen, Jessica E Shyvers, Courtney J. Duchardt, Cameron Aldridge|
|Product Type||Data Release|
|Record Source||USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog|
|USGS Organization||Fort Collins Science Center|