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Tag: Natural Hisotry

Recently published paper describes meaningful ecological units (i.e., Management Domains) for collaborative conservation in the Klamath Region


August 14, 2015 – For Immediate Release

Contact: John Alexander, jda[AT], 541-890-7067

Patterns of plant, amphibian, mammal, and bird distribution have been used to identify ecological boundaries in the Klamath Region of southern Oregon and northern California, one of the most biophysically complex areas in North America. These patterns are described in a paper, recently published in the Natural Areas Journal, written by collaborators from the National Park Service, US Geological Survey, Klamath Bird Observatory, and other organizations. “This paper represents our first collaborative effort to link biogeography with protected areas management in the Klamath Region,” says the papers lead author, Daniel Sarr (formerly with the National Park Service and now working with the US Geological Survey). John Alexander, Klamath Bird Observatory’s Executive Director and a co-author on the paper added, “In the Klamath Region, natural resource managers are challenged with managing the complex array of environments that characterize the area. In this paper, we describe patterns that help delineate meaningful ecological units, or Management Domains, that are intended to advance collaborative natural resource management in the Region.”

The distributions of species described in the paper illustrate conceptual and spatial domains for natural areas management that provide an eco-regional framework for collaborative conservation. The paper describes a Maritime Management Domain in the western portion of the Region that is similar to other coastal areas. To the east, a Great Basin Domain that is similar to other Great Basin environments is also described. While conservation management approaches that have been tested in other areas of the west coast and Great Basin may be effectively applied in these two Domains, a third Eastern Klamath Management Domain, at the core of the Klamath Region, is more unique and presents novel management challenges. This third Domain has higher species richness and endemism than other environments in the western United States that are climatically similar, such as the southwest. Because the area is so unique, management approaches that have been successful in other areas may not be as easily applied in the Eastern Klamath Management Domain. Lead author Daniel Sarr explains further, “Because of its exceptional spatial complexity, it has not always been clear how management concepts and approaches developed in other areas of the West can best be used in the Klamath Region.”


However, the species that characterize the Eastern Klamath Domain may be the key to the conservation and management of natural areas in the Klamath Region. The Klamath Region will likely serve as an important refugia for a number of at-risk species that may become more threatened by climate change. Therefore management intended to help the Region’s unique array of native species persist into an uncertain future is becoming a priority. This paper presents an improved understanding of how such species are distributed across the region which, in combination with knowledge about the species’ habitat needs, can help inform design of the novel management approaches that may be needed in the Klamath Region.

Dr. Sarr concluded the following about these research results, “This new paper represents ongoing efforts to identify spatially explicit management domains and serves as a step forward. The work will undoubtedly be refined through ongoing observational science efforts being conducted by the Klamath Bird Observatory, National Park Service, and other regional partners.”

To access a copy of this new publication, Comparing Ecoregional Classifications for Natural Areas Management in the Klamath Region, USA in the Natural Areas Journal contact John Alexander (jda[AT], 541-890-7067) or click here.  Click here to view a PDF of this Science Brief and News Release.


About Klamath Bird Observatory

Klamath Bird Observatory, based in Ashland, Oregon, advances bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships. Klamath Bird Observatory is fueled by partner-driven science programs. We use birds as indicators of the healthy and resilient ecosystems on which we all depend. Our science involves three integrated aspects: 1) long-term monitoring, 2) theoretical research, and 3) applied ecology. We bring our results to bear through science delivery involving partnership driven engagement in conservation planning, informing the critical decisions being made today that will have lasting influences on the health of our natural resources well into the future.

Klamath Bird Observatory’s award-winning model was developed in the ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion. We now apply this model more broadly throughout the Pacific Northwest. Plus, our intensive professional education and international capacity building programs expand our influence into Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.


2015 Mountain Bird Festival May 29-31

2015 Mountain Bird Festival: Citizens and Science Elevating Bird Conservation


The 2014 Mountain Bird Festival was a huge success.  All attendees served as bird conservationists by helping raise over $10,000 in support of local and national conservation efforts and the science that drives that conservation. Participants flocked from all over the U.S. to bird the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California. 171 bird species were seen by festival participants, including mountain and pacific northwest specialties such as White-headed Woodpecker, Spotted Owl, Calliope Hummingbird, Mountain Bluebird, and of course, the Great Gray Owl. Additionally, over 90 species of wildflowers were seen in bloom, as well as 21 species of dragonflies and damselflies seen zipping through the region’s diverse habitats. All data from field trips were entered into eBird Northwest, which contributes to our understanding of bird distribution and habitat use. All festival attendees purchased a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (a.k.a. the Duck Stamp) with their registration, contributing to wetland restoration and conservation throughout the United States; attendees also purchased a Conservation Science Stamp, supporting Klamath Bird Observatory‘s worldwide efforts to advance bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships.

This 2015 Conservation Science Stamp will feature the stunning White-headed Woodpecker!

The 2015 Mountain Bird Festival will offer guided bird walks, fine art galleries, local wine, microbrew, and food vendors, and a feel-good community atmosphere.  This year’s keynote speaker will be Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s International eBird project leader, Brian Sullivan. Brian will show us how eBird and its state of the art technologies are revolutionizing birding, making this popular recreation a powerful conservation science activity.

Festival registration includes half-day or full-day field trips offered on both Saturday and Sunday.

Festival goers will have the opportunity to enjoy all that is offered by the town of Ashland, Oregon. See a play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, stroll through town to visit a variety of shops and galleries, get a massage, or enjoy a meal at one of Ashland’s many restaurants that feature local foods. We look forward to seeing you at the 2015 Mountain Bird Festival.

The Klamath Bird Observatory is grateful for your support and dedication.  Don’t forget to tell your friends about this great opportunity to see wonderful birds and contribute to their conservation while at it!

A Tradition of Field Biology and Conservation

The Klamath Bird Observatory’s foundation is rooted in the study of Natural History and the art of Field Biology.  As an Observatory we are an institution that supports observation based science.  We prescribe intentioned observation to meticulously document our human experiences in the natural world.  Using explicit protocols and well-designed studies we document these experiences, collecting scientific information that we use to inform and improve the way our society manages the ecosystems on which all of Earth’s life depends.

Of course, as a Bird Observatory, birds are the focus of our science.  Birds are our focus because the study of birds serves as a cost effective tool for learning about the health of our lands, air, and water.  Birds are indicators, and each different species serves as a measuring stick, its abundance and behavior providing invaluable information about specific aspects of our environment.  They tell us about the condition and function of our forests; they help to guage the health of the important riparian habitats that grow along and protect our rivers and streams.  For example, the presence of various birds tells us many things about a forest—Pileated Woodpeckers and Brown Creepers indicate a healthy mix of standing large trees, both alive and dead, while the occurrence of Pacific-slope Flycatchers, Wilson’s Warblers, and Orange-crowned Warblers indicates a multi-story mix of conifers and hardwoods and a complex of forest floor vegetation.   Along our rivers and streams nesting success of certain species serves as an indicator of the health of the riparian habitats that shade and cool the water, stabilize the banks, maintain the water table, and serve as a buffer during flooding.  Successfully nesting Song Sparrows indicate early development of healthy riparian habitats, and then, as that habitat matures we expect to see a broader suite of nesting riparian species, such as Yellow Warblers and Yellow-breasted Chats.

Ornithologists, and their scientific study of birds, have lead and formed the foundation for 20th and 21st century conservation.  Near the turn of the 20th Century professional and amateur ornithologists, through their affiliation with the American Ornithological Union, shed light on the alarming patterns of population decline and environmental degradation that their science was documenting, influencing Theodore Roosevelt’s ambitious conservation agenda, which included the creation of the United States’ Wildlife Refuge System.  Through sound science, the waterfowl community created one of the world’s most successful conservation programs—the North American Waterfowl Conservation Plan.  This plan guides protection and management of wetland habitats throughout the ranges of the migratory ducks that depend on these habitats during their entire life cycles.  And now more recently, the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, through the State of the Birds reports, is bringing to the attention of our top decision makers the fact that birds serve as the bellwethers of our own well-being.  Our environmental, economic, and social well-being is inseparably tied to the fate of our birds and we have the science and tools that we need to reverse declines of at risk species while keeping our common birds common—we simply need to make the investment.

With many conservation challenges yet to be overcome, Klamath Bird Observatory is striving to keep our tradition of Natural History and Field Biology alive and well, by ensuring its practice informs effective conservation and helps us to realize tangible benefits for birds and people.

This is an extended version of the Note from the Executive Director article that first appeared in the 2014 Early Winter edition of the Klamath Bird Newsletter.