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Central America offers a suite of neotropical habitats vital to overwintering migrant land birds. The recent decline of many forest dwelling avian migrants is believed to be related in part to neotropical deforestation and land use change. However, spatio-temporal trends in neotropical habitat availability and avian migrant habitat use are largely unknown. Such information is needed to assess the impact of agriculture conversion on migrant land birds. In response, the USDI Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Maine began a cooperative study in 1988 which applies remote sensing and field surveys to determine current habitat availability and avian migrant habitat use. Study sites include areas in Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala and southern Mexico. Visual assessment of Landsat TM imagery indicates southern Belize forests are fragmented by various agricultural systems. Shifting agriculture is predominant in some areas, while permanent agriculture (citrus and mixed animal crops) is the primary system in others. This poster focuses on efforts to monitor forest to agriculture conversion in southern Belize using remote sensing, field surveys and GIS techniques. Procedures and avian migrant use of habitat are summarized.
Additional Publication Details
Forest to agriculture conversion in southern Belize: Implications for migrant land birds
Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Smithsonian Institution