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WCS Adirondack Park study shows exurban residences impact bird communities up to 200 meters away
Date:2/25/2013

t is important that we learn how birds and other wildlife react to particular kinds of human activities, and find ways to minimize the negative impacts for wildlife in exurban areas."

The study found that species sensitive to human impacts include the black-throated blue warbler, black-throated green warbler, hairy woodpecker, hermit thrush, ovenbird, scarlet tanager and the winter wren. The presence of some species, like the scarlet tanager, are a good indicator of undisturbed forest health.

WCS Livelihoods and Conservation Coordinator Heidi Kretser said, "Some wildlife species are sensitive to exurban development and are less likely to be found near those residences than adapted species. More sensitive and less common species could ultimately be displaced from the area as a result of this kind of development."

The study was modeled after one conducted in a shrub-oak ecosystem in Colorado where scientists calculated a 180-meter ecological effect zone based on their results. Glennon and Kretser believe that the similar results in two different ecosystem types may indicate that human behaviors associated with exurban homes play a larger role in shaping avian community characteristics nearby than do habitat alterations created by construction and clearing.

While breeding bird communities were used to measure the impacts of exurban development in the study, the authors note that birds can serve as valuable indicators of overall biodiversity.

WCS Adirondack Program Director Zoe Smith said, "The Adirondack Park is one of the last large, intact, wild ecosystems in the northeastern United States, and it is becoming increasingly important as we face global threats like climate change. As we strive to find a healthy balance between conservation and the needs of humans within the park, we need to fully understand the impacts of different development patterns. This research is another step toward that understanding and can help i
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Contact: Scott Smith
ssmith@wcs.org
718-220-3698
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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