A committee of the Joint Venture Science Team recently completed a 2-year effort revising the JV Landbird Habitat Conservation Strategy. The JV Landbird Committee consists of 15 bird scientists from across the upper Midwest, representing State and Federal agencies, universities, and NGOs (i.e., American Bird Conservancy, Illinois Audubon). Their scientific material and data presentation was reviewed and refined with help from another 30 biologists and conservation specialists from several additional agencies and organizations, including two social scientists who provided unique and very helpful perspectives regarding human dimensions and better integrating people into bird conservation planning and habitat delivery. Key topics in the 2020 Landbird Strategy include:
- A Call to Action reviews global, continental, and regional conditions resulting in loss of biological diversity and declining bird abundance, as well as prospective JV responses.
- Estimates of landbird focal species population sizes and distributions, estimates of land-cover distribution and area important to primary landbird guilds, and assessment of abundance and distribution of people throughout the JV region.
- Regional landbird population and habitat trends, review of full annual cycle management considerations, and assessment of bird habitat threats likely to limit population growth for species of high conservation concern.
- Biological models and maps displaying landscape designs to more effectively target grassland and forest conservation actions intended to reverse landbird population declines.
- Detailed technical information, including focal species habitat needs, along with breeding focal species 10- and 30-year population goals linked to the continental Partners in Flight Landbird Conservation Plan.
- Summary of Regional Management Actions at the end of the grassland, forest, and urban chapters, providing a useful shortcut for those seeking only bird-habitat delivery guidance.
- Sections regarding high priority monitoring and research needs, communications, and JV program coordination.
This Strategy establishes regional objectives for landbird population and habitat conservation while using current data and new tools for integrating social considerations into bird habitat decisions. The JV planning effort will continue to adapt as our knowledge of human dimensions improves along with our understanding of factors limiting population growth of landbirds through the full annual cycle.