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Conservation of the marbled murrelet under the northwest forest plan.Author(s): Martin G. Raphael
Source: Conservation Biology. 20(2): 297-305
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
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DescriptionThe Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) was listed as threatened in 1992, primarily because of loss of its old-forest nesting habitat. Monitoring conducted over the first 10 years following implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan shows at-sea murrelet populations appear to be stationary, but recruitment is very low and demographic models project a 4-6% annual rate of decline. Monitoring of nesting habitat indicated there were about 1.6 million ha of higher-suitability nesting habitat on all lands at the start of the plan, about half of which occurred on federal lands. Most (88%) of higher-suitability habitat on federal lands was protected within reserves. Over the past 10 years, losses of habitat due primarily to fire have totaled about 2% on federal lands. Losses have been much greater (12%) on nonfederal lands, due primarily to timber harvest. Habitat is expected to accrue within reserves as younger forest matures and attains sufficient diameter to support nesting sites. At-sea estimates of population size are strongly and positively correlated with amounts of adjacent nesting habitat at a broad scale, supporting the idea that amounts of nesting habitat are a primary driver in wide-scale murrelet population distribution. Conditions at sea, however; such as temperature regimes, prey availability, and pollutants, continue to affect murrelet populations. The system of large reserves seems to have achieved the short-term objective of conserving much of the remaining nesting habitat on federal lands. These reserves are also likely to contribute to the long-term objective of creating large, contiguous blocks of nesting habitat. The plan has a primary role in conserving and restoring nesting habitat on federal land but will succeed in this role only if land allocations calling for such protection are in place for many decades.
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CitationRaphael, Martin G. 2006. Conservation of the marbled murrelet under the northwest forest plan. Conservation Biology. 20(2): 297-305
KeywordsBrachyramphus marmoratus, conservation planning, forest management
- Northwest Forest Plan—the first 10 years (1994-2003): status and trends of populations and nesting habitat for the marbled murrelet.
- Regional population monitoring of the marbled murrelet: field and analytical methods.
- From trees to seas--Marbled Murrelet numbers are down
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