Land ownership patterns associated with declining forest birds: Targeting the right policy and management for the right birds

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8 Scopus citations


SUMMARY For over a century the foundation of biological conservation has been the development of open space networks either through outright public land acquisition or appropriate management of private lands. Because both approaches come with significant trade-offs, it is critical to understand which species are found across various land ownership types so that policy tools and management actions can efficiently be targeted to do the most good. In this paper, presence-only biological data were used to create species distribution maps for 18 imperilled forest bird species that breed within the deciduous forests of New Jersey (USA). These maps, combined with publicly available, spatially explicit information on land ownership, document who owns the habitat relied on by each of these 18 species. There were significant variations in both species- and guild-specific reliance on public versus private lands, with the latter preferentially supporting nearly twice as many species as the former. Subcategories of land ownership provided support for the role of both state-owned forests and privately-owned agricultural lands in forest bird conservation; however, each landownership type supports a distinct set of species. While explicitly recognizing the need to employ diverse conservation strategies, the approach provides a solid framework for structuring forest conservation planning and policy at regional scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-226
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Conservation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • New Jersey
  • biodiversity conservation
  • birds
  • eastern deciduous forest
  • incentives programmes
  • open space planning
  • species distribution modelling


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