Mel Preston; POB 705, Pescadero, CA, 94060; (650) 879-0804;; Ryan DiGaudio, Hilary Allen, Bonnie Eyestone, Libby Porzig
Roughly half of the land in California is categorized as rangeland, much of which (22 million acres) is privately owned. In addition to its use for livestock grazing, rangelands provide important habitat for wildlife and numerous ecosystem services. About 17 million acres of rangeland in California are oak woodland and grassland habitat, approximately 80% of which is privately owned. In this study we assess the abundance and richness of bird species across oak woodland and grassland habitat in California rangelands. We use breeding season point count data collected between 2015 and 2018 to illustrate bird community structure and abundance on rangelands found throughout California, specifically around the edges of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys and in the Central Coast region. Although management and grazing regimes varied across sites, we did not evaluate the effect of management as part of this study. We compare our findings to various statewide, regional, and habitat-specific conservation objectives and population targets in order to evaluate the conservation value of rangelands in terms of supporting landbird populations. Our findings highlight the importance of rangelands for landbirds, and underscore the need to protect remaining rangeland from conversion and fragmentation.
Ecology and Conservation of Birds II