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Monday, April 9 • 11:00am - 11:15am
SYMPOSIA-01: Using Bird Abundance Models and Ecosystem Services Valuations to Inform Grassland Bird Conservation in an Urban Context

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AUTHORS: Nat Miller, Audubon Great Lakes; Chad B. Wilsey. National Audubon Society, Caitlin M. Jensen. National Audubon Society

ABSTRACT: Grassland habitats are threatened by both urbanization and conversion to agriculture. However, grasslands provision a variety of ecosystem services of significant value, which is of particular interest of local and county land managers. These include: flood control, groundwater recharge, water purification, and carbon sequestration as well as biodiversity protection. The National Audubon Society is working in partnership with researchers, citizen scientists and land managers across the greater Chicago metropolitan area, a seven-county region, to develop a landscape conservation plan for grasslands based on both biodiversity information and valuations of ecosystem services. Biodiversity information is quantified using models of abundance for five grassland obligate species, Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, Grasshopper Sparrow, Sedge Wren, and Henslow’s Sparrow. Models were built using abundance data from point count data collected by volunteer scientists. Ecosystem services were extracted from the Chicago Wilderness Green Infrastructure Vision dataset. In a GIS workflow, we identified patches of suitable habitat with an appropriate minimum abundance target for each of the five focal species, calculated the estimated abundance of birds and valuations for each ecosystem service, identified the proportion of each patch which is currently protected, and recommended future conservation focus on the largest tracts of unprotected potential habitat. Outputs provide spatially explicit recommendations for grassland bird conservation informed by both biodiversity data as well as quantitative metrics for the provisioning of ecosystem services.

Monday April 9, 2018 11:00am - 11:15am CDT
Hancock Parlor