Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Evaluating the Role of Protected Areas in Mitigating Avian Responses to Climate and Land Use Change
by Peach, Michelle, Ph.D., State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 2017, 237; 10623168
Abstract (Summary)

Billions of dollars have been invested in land protection as a strategy to conserve biodiversity based on the assumption that protected areas buffer species from processes that drive extinction. Increasingly, protected area expansion and connectivity are being incorporated into climate change adaptation strategies to facilitate anticipated shifts in species ranges in response to predicted changes in temperature and precipitation. However, the effectiveness of protected areas at maintaining biodiversity, either by reducing the risk of extinction or facilitating colonization into new areas, has not been well established. In addition, the growing reliance on multiple-use protected areas that allow resource extraction, such as timber harvest and mineral mining, has raised questions about whether multiple-use protected areas are equally beneficial for long-term biodiversity conservation as more strictly protected areas that limit active resource management. In order to address these questions using repeated Breeding Bird Atlas data, I first had to confront the limitations of existing approaches to account for imperfect detection by developing a novel modelling approach to addresses the gap between requirements of other multi-season occupancy models (i.e. repeated sampling) and existing datasets. I then applied that single-visit dynamic occupancy modelling approach to Atlas data in New York and Pennsylvania for 97 species to quantify drivers of colonization and extinction while accounting for imperfect detection in landscapes that varied by type and amount of land cover and area under protection. In general, protected areas increased colonization and lowered extinction probabilities to an increasing degree as both forest cover and neighborhood protection decreased, with particular benefits for forest breeding birds. Both strict and multiple-use protected areas increased colonization and reduced extinction more for mature forest species than early forest species, with the greatest benefits accruing when forest cover was relatively low. These results provided the most comprehensive evidence to date that protected areas can facilitate species persistence by both reducing the risk of extinction and providing attractive colonization sites as species’ ranges shift and that biodiversity conservation can be compatible with renewable resource extraction.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Frair, Jacqueline L., Cohen, Jonathan B.
Commitee: Glennon, Michale J., Porter, William F., Sullivan, Patrick J., Zuckerberg, Benjamin
School: State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Department: Environmental & Forest Biology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 79/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Wildlife Conservation, Conservation biology, Macroecology
Keywords: Biodiversity conservation, Breeding Bird Atlas, Climate change, Occupancy modeling, Protected areas
Publication Number: 10623168
ISBN: 978-0-355-52475-8
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