Forest for the Birds Webinar Series
Forest for the Birds: Conserving America’s Forest Birds Webinar Series
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Forest Ecology Working Group, National Conservation Training Center, and Migratory Bird Program developed a 12-part lecture series to address the 50-year decline of 3 billion birds through partnerships, conservation science and forest management. The series tells a compelling story about forest bird population declines, partnership opportunities, and forest management actions that can support bird population recovery and sustainability. Partner’s in Flight was a partner and co-host of this series in celebration of our 30 year anniversary!
After engaging with the entire series, participants will be able to:
• Describe the decline of forest-dwelling birds in the U.S., identifying causes and risk factors
• Apply species vulnerability assessment tools to identify priority bird species
• Describe the importance of forest management planning from landscape to local scales, recognizing essential forest community composition and structure for bird conservation
• Identify forest conservation and habitat management alternative
Disclaimer: This webinar series is for educational purposes only. The opinions, ideas or data presented in this webinar series do not represent USFWS policy or constitute endorsement by USFWS. Some of the materials and images may be protected by copyright or may have been licenses to us by a third party and are restricted in their use. Mention of any product names, companies, web links, textbooks, or other references does not imply Federal endorsement.
Part 1: Setting the stage – Bird loss to recovery:
Webinar 1- Loss and Recovery of North American Birds
Speakers: Jerome Ford (U.S, Fish & Wildlife Service) and Ken Rosenberg (Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Bird Conservancy)
Recorded: March 16, 2021
Duration: 57 min
Ken Rosenberg discusses the findings of his influential co-authored paper published in Science (Rosenberg et al. 2019), which describes how North America has lost about 3 billion birds since 1970. The declines are not restricted to rare and threatened species; those once considered common and widespread are also diminished. About one third of this decline are forest dwelling species, including wood warblers, aerial insectivores, finches, and thrushes. Ken discusses the threats of forest habitat loss, climate change, pesticides, and other factors, and identifies opportunities for bird population recovery. This work has major implications for forest ecosystem integrity, the conservation of forest birds, and policies associated with the protection of birds and the ecosystems on which they depend.
Webinar 2 – Managing and Conserving Forests for Avian Biodiversity
Speaker: Matt Betts (Oregon State University) Recorded: April 20, 2021 Duration: 62 min
Matt Betts asks is it doom and gloom for birds? He describes broad-scale drivers of breeding habitat and population changes including climate and land-use change/ habitat fragmentation, and forest degradation. If you build it, will they come? Looking at fine-scale drivers of bird habitat: silviculture, other disturbances. They Way Forward – Guidelines for determining breeding habitat amounts (thresholds, population viability, historical range of variation) and how to plan forest landscapes that work for bird conservation.
Webinar 3 – Climate Change, Adaptation and Impacts on Forest Bird Recovery
Speakers: Maria Janowiak (U.S. Forest Service) and Steve Matthews (Oregon State University)
Recorded: May 18, 2021
Duration: 65 min.
Maria Janowiak and Steve Matthews first talk about climate change impacts on forests and habitats, and then talk about impacts on birds. They introduce the three interrelated issues of shifting seasons, shifting stressors and finally shifting species. For example, growing seasons have increased ~2 weeks in past century. In addition to overall shifts in the seasons, there’s strong evidence that the climate is becoming more extreme and variable. They also introduce tools for adapting forest dependent birds and their habitats in light of climate change, such as the Climate Change Tree and Bird Atlases (www.fs.fed.us/nrs/atlas).
Part 2: Conservation Design – landscape to stand:
Webinar 4 – Blueprint for Success – How and Where to Focus Bird Conservation
Speaker: Bob Ford (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) Recorded: June 22, 2021 Duration: 55 min.
Bob Ford, who is the USFWS – National PIF Coordinator, discusses the importance of landscape scale conservation design in the context of how landscape influences stand level management decisions. He explains how the “2016 Partners in Flight Plan” is a blueprint for regional forest bird conservation across the country. He also explains tools like the “half-life” metric, which considers area importance to better understand breeding bird populations needs. Bob also introduces case studies like the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture’s success with the management of bottomland hardwood forests in the Mississippi alluvial valley.
Webinar 5 – The Habitat Matrix – Stepping Down Bird Management from Landscape to Stand
Speaker: Jeffrey L. Larkin (Indiana University of Pennsylvania and American Bird Conservancy)
Recorded: July 20, 2021
Duration: 66 min.
Jeff Larkin of Indiana University of PA and the American Bird Conservancy discusses the importance of implementing forest bird conservation at biologically meaningful scales both spatially and temporally. He describes stepping down landscape scale bird conservation plans and strategies to the forest stand level. He also talks about how essential good forest management is to creating a diversity of forest structure, and how that assists many forest bird species trying to survive in forests that offer very little diversity of habitat structure.
Webinar 6 – Stand-level Forest Management: Desired Forest Conditions for Wildlife
Speaker: Randy Wilson (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)
Recorded: August 17, 2021
Duration: 59 min.
Speaker Randy Wilson of the USFWS discusses how the ecosystem based approach to bird conservation shifted the conservation paradigm from a resource based, opportunistic approach, towards a science-based, strategic pursuit of sustainable landscapes. That approach however requires managing for population sustainability at multiple spatial scales and then translating bird habitat needs into forest management prescriptions. Desired forest conditions (DFCs) for wildlife are the mechanism the FWS has used to implement this approach.
Part 3: Conservation Initiatives:
Webinar 7 – Forestry for the Birds
Speaker: Amanda Mahaffey (Forest Stewards Guild)
Recorded: September 21, 2021
Duration: 60 min.
Amanda Mahaffey of the Forest Stewards Guild discusses the significant success of forestry for the birds programs in a number of states including Vermont, Michigan and others including North Carolina’s Forest Landbird Legacy Program. The focus has been on translating bird life history and needs into silvicultural prescriptions made by foresters and incorporated in forest management planning. The partnerships created through forestry for the birds between foresters, state agencies and NGOs like Audubon, the American Brid Conservancy, the Klamath Bird Observatory and Partners in Flight has engaged people in the field across all ownerships and organizations.
Webinar 8 – Bird-Friendly Forestry on Corporate and Private Forest Lands
Speakers: Darren Sleep (Sustainable Forest Initiative) and Darren Miller (NCASI)
Recorded: October 19, 2021
Duration: 74 min
Darren Sleep of SFI discusses how Forest Certification is being used on corporate lands to create and maintain practices that benefit birds and biodiversity conservation. Darren Miller addressed how large private forest landowners can enhance bird diversity and abundance through purposeful forest management decisions.
Webinar 9 – Indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge and bird friendly forest management
Speaker: Frank Lake (U.S. Forest Service)
Recorded: November 16, 2021
Duration: 63 min.
Frank Lake shared many components of indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge and how they are used in bird friendly forest management. Frank also discussed and showed traditional regalia and described their importance to indigenous culture and ceremonies. He shared research on fire impacts and how varying burn season can impact traditional culture, fuels and bird habitat.
Part 4: Conservation Action
Speaker: Anthony D’Amato (University of Vermont)
Recorded: December 14, 2021
Duration: 67 minutes
Tony D’Amato describes ecological forestry and how it mimics large and small scale natural disturbance and how it is a powerful tool that can be used to benefit bird species associated with all seral stages. Tony discusses silvicultural considerations for early successional habitat/disturbance dependent species like Swainson’s, Kirtland’s, golden-winged warblers, and Bachman’s sparrow, etc. Finally he discusses silvicultural considerations for late succession forest management actions for priority species habitats for RCW, spotted owl/marbled murrelet, blackburnian, wood thrush, cerulean warbler and others.
Webinar 11 – Effectiveness monitoring – evaluating the effects of forest management on bird populations
Speaker: John Alexander (Klamath Bird Observatory)
Recorded: January 18, 2022
Duration: 65 min
John Alexander with the Klamath Bird Observatory discusses partnerships for monitoring the success of bird conservation efforts and using birds as indicators of habitat suitability and conservation success. John will show how managing for a suite of bird species provides results that can be measured using the response of focal species to habitat management. He showed examples and case studies of partner monitoring efforts in the Klamath Siskiyou bioregion of the Pacific Northwest and data management and modeling tools that allow synthesis over large areas and over long time periods.
Webinar 12 – Our Changing Way of Working IS Revolutionizing Conservation
Speaker: Bill Uihlein (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Recorded: February 15, 2022
Duration: 60 min.
Forests for the Birds Webinar Series conclusion – Building on the previous 11 webinars in this series, Bill Uihlein explored the continued rapid evolution of conservation that is shaping the emergence of new Ways of Working influenced by the past, current, and future set of living relationships and the collective pattern of behaviors working towards shared goals. The approach to the conservation of our natural resources are being changed by external forces, but EACH OF US are also shaping the future of conversation. We explored how conservation organizations are being influenced by societal changes and how each of us and our organizations can adapt to and actively shape the future of conservation. Motivating participants to examine their existing and potential role in infusing innovation necessary for the conservation of forest birds and forests in the context of system sustainability.