Coastal forests of the Gulf of Mexico: A description and some thoughts on their conservation

By: , and 



Millions of Nearctic-Neotropical landbirds move through the coastal forests of the Gulf of Mexico each spring and autumn as they migrate across and around the gulf. Migration routes in the gulf region are not static—they shift year to year and season to season according to prevailing wind patterns. Given the dynamic nature of migration routes, coastal forests around the Gulf of Mexico potentially can provide important stopover habitat to en route migrants. The coastal forests from the Florida Keys to the Yucatan Peninsula include a wide range of habitat types that we have classified as 19 broad community types. From literature reviews, we determined that the majority of these coastal habitats have been lost or degraded due to the effects of development, agriculture, livestock grazing, timber industry activities, and the spread of exotic species. The continued loss and degradation of coastal forests pose a risk to migrating birds, and thus we need to develop a conservation strategy that maximizes the suitability of the remaining forested patches around the gulf. An effective conservation strategy will require considerations at the gulf-wide, regional, landscape and habitat levels. These considerations should include migrant movement and landfall patterns, migrant use of inland versus coastal fringe stopover sites, the creation of landscape mosaics that incorporate patch size and inter-patch distance, and the availability of within habitat resources.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Title Coastal forests of the Gulf of Mexico: A description and some thoughts on their conservation
Year Published 2005
Language English
Publisher USDA
Description 15 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype Federal Government Series
Larger Work Title USDA Forest Service General Technical Report PSW-GTR-191
First page 450
Last page 464
Country Mexico, United States
State Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas
Other Geospatial Gulf of Mexico Coast
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