Influence of climate change and postdelisting management on long‐term population viability of the conservation‐reliant Kirtland's Warbler
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Ecology and Evolution
Rapid global climate change is resulting in novel abiotic and biotic conditions and interactions. Identifying management strategies that maximize probability of long‐term persistence requires an understanding of the vulnerability of species to environmental changes. We sought to quantify the vulnerability of Kirtland's Warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii), a rare Neotropical migratory songbird that breeds almost exclusively in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and winters in the Bahamian Archipelago, to projected environmental changes on the breeding and wintering grounds. We developed a population‐level simulation model that incorporates the influence of annual environmental conditions on the breeding and wintering grounds, and parameterized the model using empirical relationships. We simulated independent and additive effects of reduced breeding grounds habitat quantity and quality, and wintering grounds habitat quality, on population viability. Our results indicated the Kirtland's Warbler population is stable under current environmental and management conditions. Reduced breeding grounds habitat quantity resulted in reductions of the stable population size, but did not cause extinction under the scenarios we examined. In contrast, projected large reductions in wintering grounds precipitation caused the population to decline, with risk of extinction magnified when breeding habitat quantity or quality also decreased. Our study indicates that probability of long‐term persistence for Kirtland's Warbler will depend on climate change impacts to wintering grounds habitat quality and contributes to the growing literature documenting the importance of considering the full annual cycle for understanding population dynamics of migratory species.
Brown, Donald J.; Donner, Deahn M.; Ribic, Christine A.; Bocetti, Carol I. 2019. Influence of climate change and postdelisting management on long‐term population viability of the conservation‐reliant Kirtland's Warbler. Ecology and Evolution. 54(2). 14 p. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5547.