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Habitat Considerations for Endangered Species
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  1. Habitat Considerations for Endangered Species • Why conserve habitat? • Sinks, sources, and metapopulations • Critical Habitat • Habitat Conservation Plans

  2. Why Conserve Habitat? • Critical to species’ survival • Protection applies to more than just the species of interest • Know more about habitat hot spots and distribution than about species distributions • Know habitat loss and degradation are major reasons for endangerment

  3. Modern Views of Populations and Habitats • Review Sinks, Sources, and Metapopulation Concepts • ESC 450 • Chapter 5 in NRC’s “Science and the ESA” • Pulliam 1988 (if you have not read it--DO SO TODAY!) • dispersal from source can result in large and growing sink even given <1

  4. Metapopulation Review • Subpopulations connected by dispersal (Levins 1969) • Good way to describe structure and dynamics of populations scattered across a landscape in spatially isolated patches • common in managed landscapes • Some sub-populations may be sinks and some may be sources, but this is only a special case of general metapopulation model • core-satellite or simultaneous sink-source may be more common (Doak and Mills 1994; Doncaster et al. 1997)

  5. Key Messages for Endangered Species Management • Extinction of subpopulations in metapopulation is to be expected • Subpopulation dynamics may be controlled by dynamics of other subpopulations • rescue by dispersal • need to ID sources or cores • Functioning metapopulation may be necessary for species to remain extant • Acorn Woodpeckers in New Mexico • (Stacey and Taper 1992)

  6. Another Key: Habitat is Not Constant in Space or Time • It is a “shifting mosaic”(Bormann and Likens 1979, Botkin and Sobel 1975) • habitat composition in landscape changes naturally • usually slowly • BWCA (continual change at replacement rate every 2-4 centuries from glaciation and succession) • fire has return rate of 20-200 years • GPP may ~ Respiration at ecosystem scale (steady state), but individual stands change frequently

  7. Management Implications of Shifting Mosaics Clear-cutting Total Biomass Fire Wind Time (White Mountains, NH; Bormann and Likens 1979) • Land management usually decreases time between disturbances • may also affect spatial arrangement by increasing edge • Endangered species may need change or may need specific disturbance state • Kirtland’s Warbler and Red-cockaded Woodpecker

  8. Do We Really Know Habitat Needs? Important Spring 80 Males Females • Van Horne (1983) • abundance  quality • Yong et al. (1998) • Wilson’s Warblers in New Mexico • Habitat needs differ from spring to fall (breeeding to migration) • cottonwood not used in spring • Habitat needs differ from adults to subadults • ag for juveniles, willow for adults 10 10 20 % of Each Age/Sex In Group AG CN CR CS SS WI 80 Fall Adults Hatch Year 20 AG CN CR CS SS WI

  9. Critical Habitat Designation • At listing (after 1978, not retroactive) • Takes into account ECONOMIC impacts • Can be opted out if “non prudent” or not determinable • non-prudent can be for any reason • To date <20% of species have critical habitat designated (NRC)

  10. Is Critical Habitat Needed? • USFWS argues “no” • Sect 7 consultations already require fed agencies to avoid jeopardizing the species by modifying habitat • Sect 9 prohibits take by the public, which has been equated with habitat destruction (Sweet Home) • But regulation of habitat by disallowing take is less absolute than designating Critical Habitat • requires “no likelihood of jeopardy” but critical habitat cannot by “adversely modified”

  11. Possible Improvements to Critical Habitat • “Survival Habitat” (NRC) • temporary designation at time of listing • habitat needed to support current population or ensure short-term (25-50 year) survival, whichever is larger • No economic evaluation goes into it • Allows management options to be preserved until recovery plan and formal critical habitat is proposed

  12. Habitat Conservation Plans • More likely to be the way habitat is protected on non-federal lands (rather than designation of critical habitat) • Allows non-federal landowners to get incidental take permit (Sect 10(a)) • implementation of HCP “will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impacts of such taking” and “not appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of the species in the wild”

  13. HCPs as a Solution to a Problem • Services view HCPs as a way to balance a citizen’s right to use their property with the nation’s interest in conserving rare and endangered species • Goal is to create “creative partnerships” between landowners wanting to develop their land and our natural heritage

  14. Increase in HCPs • San Bruno Mtn. Cal (1983) • Over 200 in 1997, 200 more in preparation • Range in size • 1/2 acre lot (Fl. Scrub Jay) • 170,000 acres • Plum Creek Timber • 100 years, 285listed and unlisted species • 1.6 million acres • WA DNR • 70-100 years, 200 species

  15. The HCP Process (USFWS 1998) • Plan Development • permit application ($25) • the plan • document of compliance with NEPA • implementation agreement • Review • service • public (published in Federal Register) • Monitoring • service monitors compliance with HCP

  16. Contents of HCP (USFWS 1998) • Species covered (listed and non-listed) • Assessment of impacts of take • How take will be monitored, minimized, and mitigated • Plan for funding the proposed monitoring and mitigation • Alternatives to take and why they are not being adopted • Argument that taking will not reduce the species’ survival and recovery

  17. Criticisms of HCPs (Minett & Cullinan 1997; Kaiser 1997) • Not based on science • We need to know a lot about management of species to decide on long-term management strategies • PVAs of all species in plan • Not Flexible (esp. if “no surprises”) • Adaptive management framework that allows adjustment as more information comes in • need a carefully designed and well funded scientific management program for the ecosystem • that can be expensive, but costs are predictable • Provide public funds for SURPRISES

  18. More Criticisms (Minett & Cullinan 1997; Kaiser 1997) • Separate plans for single landowners results in fragmented approach to conservation • not a problem if landowners hold large areas • can result in “high grading” • first HCP gets by with as much as possible • subsequent HCPs have to conserve species given what is already provided • they may have to provide more expensive habitat or curtain operations to a greater extent than first planer • plans rely on particular use of adjoining land • what if it fails? • Multi-owner (regional) HCPs would be better

  19. More Recent HCP Evaluation • The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis reviewed many HCPs and their results echo those previously mentioned • View their report here to better understand HCPs and evaluate their scientific validity

  20. HCPs are not Recovery Plans • Another criticism is that HCPs often do little for the listed species • Requirement is that plan MINIMIZES and MITIGATES take • they do not have to contribute to RECOVERY • alternatives easily dismissed • Rota’s proposed HCP would take 1/2 of Mariana Crow’s habitat! • Balcones Canyonlands HCP (Texas) provided 12,000 ha, but science report called for 53,000 ha • black-capped vireo is likely to go locally extinct

  21. Limited Public Participation • A serious criticism from environmental organizations • Years of negotiation between service and landowner prior to review • Service does not have to use public comments obtained during review when making their final decision • Too much invested in negotiations to change after public comments • Environmental organizations are out of loop and don’t like it

  22. Making HCPs Better (Kaiser 1997) • Require plan to boost, not reduce, populations of listed species • Initial plan developed by scientists with no vested interests in planning area • Wait for recovery plan before HCP is approved • allows range-wide coordination of efforts • Allow for adjustment even with “no surprise” • public funding for surprises • good monitoring and adaptive response

  23. An Example of a “Good Plan” (NRC and Kaiser 1997) • California’s Natural Community Conservation Plan • southern coastal sage • Regional • provides protection for more than just listed (gnatcatcher) species so future plans are less likley • Blueprint drafted by panel of independent scientists • functioned as interim plan • pointed out needs for research on dispersal, demography, genetics, autecology before final plan

  24. Interim NCCP Directions • Slow development (<5% of native landscape) • No net loss of habitat VALUE • Stick to tenets of conservation biology • increase species distribution • large, aggregated, non-fragmented, interconnected, roadless blocks of habitat are best • Rank habitat according to tenets • best habitat is managed as reserves • secondary priority is conferred on moderate habitat adjoining reserves

  25. References • Minett, M. and T. Cullinan.1997. A citizen’s guide to HCPs. National Audubon Society. Washington DC. • USFWS. 1998. Www.fws.gov/r9endspp/hcpplan.html • Kaiser, J. 1997. When a habitat is not a home. Science 276:1636-1638. • Bormann, FH. And GE Likens. 1979. Catastrophic disturbance and the steady state in northern hardwood forests. Am. Scientist 67:660-669. • Doncaster, CP, Clobert, J, Doligez, B, Gustafsson, L, and E. Danchin. 1997. Balanced dispersal between spatially varying local populations: an alternative to the source-sink model. Am. Nat. 150:425-445.

  26. More References • Levins, R. 1969. Some demographic and genetic consequences of environmental heterogeneity for environmental control. Bull. Entomol. Soc. Am. 15:237-240. • Stacey, PB. And M. Taper. 1992. Environmental variation and the persistence of small populations. Ecol. Appl. 2:18-29. • Pulliam, HR. 1988. Sources, sinks, and population regulation. Am. Natural. 132:652-661. • Doak, DF and LS Mills. 1994. A useful role for theory in conservation. Ecology 75:615-626. • Botkin, DB. And MJ. Sobel. 1975. Stability in time-varying ecosystems. Am. Nat. 109:625-646.

  27. More References • Yong, W., Finch, DM, Moore, FR, and JF Kelly. 1998. Stopover ecology and habitat use of migratory Wilson’s Warblers. Auk 115:829-842. • Van Horne, B. 1983. Density as a misleading indicator of habitat quality. JWM 47:893-901.