Land-use planning to conserve habitat for area-sensitive forest birds

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Abstract

Models predicting the occurrence of area-sensitive bird species in forests were developed from bird survey data from 499 forests in Prince George's County, Maryland. The predicted probabilities of occurrence for species were integrated with forest cover data for the County in a Geographic Information System (GIS). This information was used in combination with local zoning and forest conservation requirements to develop a preliminary forest conservation plan for the watershed of the Western Branch of the Patuxent River. We identify forests patches most likely to support breeding populations of area-sensitive birds, and use the GIS to devise ways to consolidate and link them. Forests that do not contribute significantly to the integrity of these priority forests are designated as sites in which development could occur. The resulting conservation plan will maintain and enhance breeding habitat for area-sensitive forest birds, while still allowing for additional development as human populations increase.

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