Left out in the rain: Comparing productivity of two associated species exposes a leak in the umbrella species concept

Biological Conservation
By: , and 



Multi-species approaches to wildlife management have become commonplace and purport to benefit entire biological communities. These strategies aim to manage different, often taxonomically distant species under a single regime based on shared habitat associations and/or co-occurrence in the landscape. We tested the efficacy of multi-species management in the context of creating and maintaining early-successional forest cover types using two species of migratory birds that breed in eastern North America and are each the focus of intensive, concurrent, and overlapping management. American woodcock (Scolopax minor) and golden-winged warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera) breed in similar diverse-forest landscapes. Each species purportedly benefits from management for the other species and both are often used as flagship species for the creation of young forest and the conservation of associated avian communities. However, the landscape-species relationships that drive reproductive success and population stability in these species have not been explicitly compared. Here, we use previously published spatially-explicit models of productivity (the number of juveniles raised to a biologically significant milestone) to identify the relationship(s) between productivity of American woodcock and golden-winged warblers across a shared landscape. We found productivity to be negatively associated between these species on the same landscape at all spatial scales we modelled (1 m2–100 ha). Our results suggest that, with regards to productivity, American woodcock and golden-winged warblers have opposing relationships with the composition of the landscapes in which they coexist and therefore should not be assumed to benefit similarly from any individual management action at any relevant spatial scale.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Left out in the rain: Comparing productivity of two associated species exposes a leak in the umbrella species concept
Series title Biological Conservation
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2019.02.039
Edition 276
Volume 233
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 13 p.
First page 288
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