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Population models have great potential as management tools, as they use infonnation about the life history of a species to summarize estimates of fecundity and survival into a description of population change. Models provide a framework for projecting future populations, determining the effects of management decisions on future population dynamics, evaluating extinction probabilities, and addressing a variety of questions of ecological and evolutionary interest. Even when insufficient information exists to allow complete identification of the model, the modelling procedure is useful because it forces the investigator to consider the life history of the species when determining what parameters should be estimated from field studies and provides a context for evaluating the relative importance of demographic parameters. Models have been little used in the study of the population dynamics of passerine birds because of: (1) widespread misunderstandings of the model structures and parameterizations, (2) a lack of knowledge of life histories of many species, (3) difficulties in obtaining statistically reliable estimates of demographic parameters for most passerine species, and (4) confusion about functional relationships among demographic parameters. As a result, studies of passerine demography are often designed inappropriately and fail to provide essential data. We review appropriate models for passerine bird populations and illustrate their possible uses in evaluating the effects of management or other environmental influences on population dynamics. We identify environmental influences on population dynamics. We identify parameters that must be estimated from field data, briefly review existing statistical methods for obtaining valid estimates, and evaluate the present status of knowledge of these parameters.
Additional Publication Details
Population models for passerine birds: structure, parameterization, and analysis