A new national report released today by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, and contributed to by local science-based non-profit Klamath Bird Observatory, highlights the considerable extent to which native bird populations in the United States depend on private lands. Significantly, the 2013 State of the Birds Report on Private Lands also demonstrates that conservation action on private lands is not just for the birds; landowners and the general public benefit from conservation actions that result in cleaner air and water and more resilient and productive landscapes.
Throughout our nation, some two million ranchers and farmers and about 10 million woodland owners look after 1.43 billion acres, or roughly 60% of the land area of the United States. These private lands support more than 300 forest-breeding bird species, and several grassland birds have more than 90% of their distribution on private lands. Waterfowl also depend heavily on private lands. Innovative conservation partnerships are changing the face of private lands conservation as private landowners see real benefits and neighbors follow suit through so-called “contagious conservation.”
In our own backyard, Klamath Bird Observatory is partnering with Lomakatsi Restoration Project, US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and private landowners, and using birds to guide restoration on 2,000 acres of private oak woodlands in southern Oregon and northern California. This unique collaboration—the Central Umpqua-Mid Klamath Oak Conservation Project—received the 2012 Department of Interior Partners in Conservation Award and is restoring one of the West Coast’s most imperiled and biologically rich habitats, benefiting Oak Titmouse, Acorn Woodpecker, and Black-throated Gray Warbler. (To learn more about oaks ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest, download Klamath Bird Observatory and American Bird Conservancy’s Land Manager’s Guide to Bird Habitat and Populations in Oak Ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest, as well as the supplemental guide that features species accounts.)
Klamath Bird Observatory advances bird and habitat conservation in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion and beyond, and has contributed to the high-profile annual State of the Birds reports since the initial report in 2009. Klamath Bird Observatory believes that bird conservation is relevant to every American because the same landscapes that support diverse and abundant bird communities also provide vital services to humans.
John Alexander and Jaime Stephens from Klamath Bird Observatory, and Marko Bey from Lomakatsi Restoration Project, will discuss the 2013 State of the Birds Report on Private Lands on Jefferson Public Radio’s news and information program Jefferson Exchange on Wednesday, July 10th from 9:00am until 10:00am. Tune-in to learn more about what birds tell us about the state of the environment; how these local organizations are working with private landowners to provide benefits for landowners, wildlife, and society; and how America’s famous land ethic—articulated by Aldo Leopold—is being realized.