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Federal scientists recognized for contributions to knowledge of bird ecology and habitat

PORTLAND, Ore. February 6, 2009. Two federal scientists have won national awards for their research on the habitat and ecology of the marbled murrelet and the northern spotted owl. Martin Raphael and Eric Forsman, research wildlife biologists at the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station, were named recipients of the Wings Across the Americas Research and Partnership award. Raphael is based at the station's Olympia, Wash., lab and Forsman at the Corvallis, Ore., lab.

The Wings Across the Americas Research and Partnership award is given annually by the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the USDA Forest Service to recognize scientists whose work emphasizes a strong partnership between research and management to improve the status of a bird species or community of bird species. The 2009 award ceremony is scheduled to be held March 19, in Arlington, Virginia.

Raphael was cited for leading a research and management partnership across agencies to help make fundamental contributions to understanding the ecology and behavior of the marbled murrelet.

Forsman was honored for fostering a research/management partnership that increased our understanding of the spotted owl and its ecology.

The marbled murrelet was listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1992, primarily because of loss of habitat related to harvesting of old-growth forests. Raphael was appointed in 1997 to a team of scientists and managers to monitor the population and habitat of the murrelet.

The results of the team's efforts are summarized in the 2006 publication, Northwest Forest PlanThe First 10 Years (1994-2003): Status and Trends of Populations and Nesting Habitat for the Marbled Murrelet.

Other partners who will be recognized with Raphael at the awards ceremony are C.J. Ralph, Sherri Miller, and Jim Baldwin, Pacific Southwest Research Station/USDA Forest Service; Thomas Bloxton, Jr., PNW Research StationUSDA Forest Service; Gary Falxa and Deanna Lynch, US Fish and Wildlife Service; Scott Pearson and Monique Lance, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; and Craig Strong, Crescent Coastal Research.

Forsman has conducted research on northern spotted owls since 1972, and since 1987 has worked with an interagency group of scientists and managers to carry out long-term studies of population trends of the owl. The work of this group has been critical to the conservation of the owl and has led forest managers to experiment with alternative methods of silviculture on federal lands to grow trees that simulate conditions found in old-growth forests.

Results of this research/management partnership have been published in many journal articles and research reports, including wildlife monographs reporting on population trends and dispersal, as well as papers on diet, habitat use, and home range areas. A major publication is Northwest Forest Planthe First 10 Years (1994-2003): Status and Trends of Northern Spotted Owl Populations and Habitat.

Other partners who will be recognized at the awards ceremony with Forsman are Ray Davis, Umpqua National Forest; Jon Martin, Tongass National Forest (formerly with Region 6 of the Forest Service); Shawne Mohoric, Region 6, Forest Service; Joseph Lint, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State Office; Robert Anthony, US Geological Survey and Oregon State University; Carl Schwarz, Simon Fraser University; Jim Nichols and Jim Hines, US Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Alan Franklin, David Anderson, Ken Burnham, and Gary White, Colorado State University.


Contact: Sherri Richardson Dodge
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station

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