Biodiversity & High-Priority Species

Background 

Although many companies, agencies, and environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs) emphasize a coarse-filter approach to conservation, attention to individual species and selected species groups is sometimes warranted (e.g., species that are federally listed, proposed for listing, imperiled, sensitive, or declining in abundance).

At times, however, any species can merit individual attention (e.g., locally over-abundant species). Regulators and ENGOs sometimes believe that habitat conditions favorable for high-priority species cannot be created using the cost-efficient management tools commonly used by industry to meet economic objectives (e.g., plantation forestry, herbicides). Thus, regulations and proposed strategies often feature management approaches (e.g., retention structures, extended rotations, set-asides connected by corridors, wide riparian buffers) that, if implemented, would likely hinder industry from meeting their economic objectives.

There is a need for research that supports development of cost-effective active strategies for regulating populations of key high-priority species in managed forests.

Goal

Provide technical information needed to manage species of high priority while also meeting economic objectives.

Examples of Recent or Ongoing Tasks 

  • Cerulean Warbler Conservation Initiative – Through several studies, this task is seeking to (1) assess the response of Cerulean Warblers and associated species to commonly applied forest management practices; (2) organize, summarize, and analyze historical data on Cerulean Warbler distribution and demography in the coalfields region of southern West Virginia; (3) test, refine, and integrate alternative models that predict Cerulean Warbler distribution and abundance in its breeding and winter ranges, and map the predicted distributions for conservation uses; and (4) study the ecology and demography of Cerulean Warblers at known wintering locations.
  • Bats in Managed Forests – Through two studies, this task is seeking to (1) identify characteristics of managed forest landscapes that determine landscape-level bat community assemblages, identify generalized foraging habitat associations of bats in managed forest landscapes, and produce predictive models that would be broadly applicable to managed forests of the southeastern Coastal Plain; and (2) document bat community response to commonly applied forest management practices in the Appalachians.
  • Green Swamp Herpetofauna Study – This study is characterizing the composition, capture rates, and biomass of herpetofauna associated with isolated wetlands embedded in pine plantations of varying ages and structures in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina.
  • Habitat Relationships of Canada Lynx – This task is supporting two studies of Canada lynx habitat ecology—one study in Maine and one in Minnesota—and supporting a study in Maine to characterize the effect of edge zones between high- and low-density hare habitat on landscape-level densities of snowshoe hares.
  • Swallow-tailed Kite Nesting Ecology – As part of the Altamaha River Partnership for Stewardship and Research (ARPSR), NCASI is supporting a study of movements and habitat use of swallow-tailed kites in Georgia.
  • Technical Support on Threatened and Endangered Species Issues – This task allocates time for NCASI staff to monitor state and federal publications (e.g., Federal Register), interact with agency and company staff, participate on recovery teams, and provide technical reviews of regulatory and other relevant proposals as appropriate.

More details about these and other tasks can be found elsewhere on the NCASI website. For more information about the NCASI Sustainable Forestry and Eastern Wildlife Program, contact Dr. Ben Wigley at bwigley@ncasi.org.