Audubon Releases Report on Grasslands and Birds

The National Audubon Society recently released a report, North American Grasslands and Birds, that evaluates the sensitivity of grassland bird species to climate change and identifies which grasslands are strongholds against both climate change and land use conversion and which are vulnerable to those processes. PLJV collaborated on the chapter addressing the southern Great Plains grasslands.

“PLJV is a leader in landscape conservation design,” notes Chad Wilsey, Vice President and Interim Chief Scientist for National Audubon Society, “and we are excited to align our report with their ongoing conservation implementation effort in the southern Great Plains, which are critical strongholds for grassland bird conservation.”

The report identifies a corridor of shortgrass prairie from New Mexico and Texas up through Colorado as a Grassland Climate and Land Use stronghold. The mixed-grass prairie also has several strongholds, although they are more fragmented than the shortgrass prairie areas. 

“Understanding which areas are projected to be most secure under future climate and land use change conditions will help the Joint Venture partnership prioritize conservation in areas where our current actions are most likely to remain effective into the future,” explains PLJV Conservation Science Director Anne Bartuszevige.  

One way PLJV is addressing the grassland conservation crisis is by developing a new tri-national grassland conservation effort with other Migratory Bird Joint Ventures (Prairie Habitat JV, Northern Great Plains JV, Prairie Pothole JV, Rainwater Basin JV, Oaks and Prairies JV, Rio Grande JV, and Sonoran JV). The partners have met several times to discuss continental grassland bird conservation and develop a comprehensive Joint Venture collaboration for halting the decline of grassland birds. The group is working together to set continental and stepped-down goals to address the issue and to identify capacity needs as well as programs that can be used, or may be needed, to accomplish the task.

“As we get organized, we expect to bring more partners on board while allowing Joint Ventures to do what we do best,” says PLJV Coordinator Mike Carter, “which is to analyze how much habitat is left, determine how much is needed to dampen declines, and develop capacity and programs to address those needs.”

Posted: September 8, 2019