ASSESSING SPECIES DISTRIBUTIONS IN TERMS OF FOREST RESTORATION AND FIRE RISK IN THE SIERRA NEVADA
|Kristin M Brunk; Cornell Lab of Ornithology; firstname.lastname@example.org; Charles Maxwell, Gavin M. Jones, Zach Peery, LeRoy Westerling, Anu Kramer, Kevin Kelly, Joshua F. Goldberg, Connor M. Wood
A warming climate and rapid land-use change have altered disturbance regimes globally, and, in the dry forests of western North America, managers face increasingly critical and time-sensitive trade-offs when planning forest restoration activities. However, identifying and balancing potential trade-offs between forest restoration goals and biodiversity conservation is hindered by mismatches between existing wildlife ecology research and forestry metrics that can hamper managers’ ability to utilize existing information in decision-making. Here, we (1) determine the occupancy of ten avian indicator species across the entire Sierra Nevada ecosystem using passive acoustic monitoring at an unprecedented spatial scale and (2) directly link species’ distributions to forestry metrics and fire risk using a novel habitat dataset that is congruent with the metrics used by managers in forest restoration planning. We found that the ten species responded to habitat and fire risk idiosyncratically, which provides insight into the diversity of restoration and management strategies that will be necessary to protect the unique and varied forest communities of the Sierra Nevada. This work navigates the space between conservation research and regional planning and provides actionable information for managers seeking to understand species distributions relative to wildfire risk in the context of adaptive management and evidence-based conservation.