Sustaining Forest Interior Dwelling Bird Species Breeding Presence through the Maryland-DC Important Bird Areas Program

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Advanced Academic Programs, The Johns Hopkins University
The Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program is an international effort intended to identify, monitor, and conserve land areas most essential to support native bird populations. I investigated whether Forest Interior Dwelling bird species (FIDS) retained breeding presence over a twenty year period (1987-2006) within sites selected by the Maryland-DC IBA program at higher rates than across Maryland-DC external to those sites. I then examined at-risk FIDS and those that declined in presence across Maryland- DC during that period more closely. Species demonstrating greater persistence within the Important Bird Area (IBA) sites would indicate they have been appropriately selected to support their long-term viability. My analysis leverages the Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA) survey data taken during two five year periods twenty years apart (1983-87 and 2002-06) to compare changes in species breeding presence and assemblage richness between IBA and non-IBA areas of the Maryland-DC region. I found evidence that FIDS in decline during this period benefited from the IBAs more than FIDS in general, and that several of the at-risk FIDS species in greatest decline persisted at statistically significant higher rates inside the IBAs. I did not find evidence that the FIDS assemblage overall persisted at a higher rate inside IBAs.
Urbanization, Species richness, Neotropical, Important bird area, Habitat loss, Green infrastructure, Fragmentation, Forest interior dwelling species, Edge habitat, Breeding bird atlas