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Land managers are often concerned with providing habitat affords the 'best habitat for songbirds.' However, unless management simply is directed at rare species it may not be clear which habitats or management options are best. A standard, quantifiable measure to compare the significance of different tracts of land or competing management techniques for avian conservation would benefit managers in decision making. I propose a standard measure that is based on the relative density of each species within a finite area and their respective regional Partners in Flight concern scores. I applied this method to > 100 reforested sites in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley that ranged in age from 2 to 32 years. The objectively determined avian conservation significance for each of these reforested sites was correlated with stand age and with my subjective assessment of 'habitat quality.' I also used this method to compare the avian conservation significance of forested habitats before and after selective timber harvest with high significance for avian conservation provided habitat for species of conservation concern. I recommend application of this methodology to other and areas under different management, to determine its usefulness at predicting avian conservation significance among habitats and at various avian densities.
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An objective method to determine an area's relative significance for avian conservation
U. S. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station