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Migratory bird conservation plans should not only develop population goals, they also should establish attainable objectives for optimizing avian habitats. Meeting population goals is of paramount importance, but progress toward established habitat objectives can generally be monitored more easily than can progress toward population goals. Additionally, local or regional habitat objectives can be attained regardless of perturbations to avian populations that occur outside the geographic area covered by conservation plans. Assessments of current avian habitats, obtained from remotely sensed data, and the historical distribution of habitats should be used in establishing habitat objectives. Habitat planning and monitoring are best conducted using a geographic information system. Habitat objectives are assigned to three categories: maintaining existing habitat, restoring habitat, and creating new or alternative habitat. Progress toward meeting habitat objectives can be monitored through geographic information systems by incorporating georeferenced information on public lands, private lands under conservation easements, corporate lands under prescribed management, habitat restoration areas, and private lands under alternative management to enhance wildlife values. We recommend that the area and distribution of habitats within the area covered by conservation plans be reassessed from remotely sensed imagery at intervals appropriate to detect predicted habitat changes.
Additional Publication Details
Conservation planning and monitoring avian habitat
U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station