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Public Affairs Report
PHD student, Terry Rich, in Action
Terry Rich has been busy working on both public and scholarly communication related to his doctoral work, including the total overall and update of the Partners in Fight website (https://www.partnersinflight.org/), which was just opened yesterday. He wrote a good bit of new content for the “What We Do” tab, and other material of his from past years has been carried forward, especially under “Resources.”
The “shifting baseline syndrome” is one of the most pernicious problems in long-term conservation because each succeeding generation of conservationists expects less. Data are available to make population estimates for 46 species of birds in the Great Basin before European settlement (ca 1800). Estimates are derived from, 1) the current size of the total breeding range of the species as modeled from Southwest ReGAP, 2) the proportion of the current species population that occurs in the Great Basin as estimated by Partners in Flight, and 3) both the minimum and maximum breeding densities of the species reported in the literature. Although the breeding density estimates provide for variation in the population size estimates, all the latter are almost certainly overestimated because not all habitat from any source of estimation for a given species is suitable for it. Nonetheless, these estimates provide a starting point for setting the “true” baseline for judging conservation goals, gains, and losses in the present day. One can then calculate long-term population trends (1800-1966) and compare these to more recent trends from the Breeding Bird Survey (1966-2014). A comparison of these trajectories by species might be useful in prioritizing species for future conservation.
RICH, TERRELL D. Pre-Settlement Breeding Bird Populations and Very-Long-Term Population Trend Estimates for the Great Basin. Boise State University, Department Public Policy and Administration, 1910 W. University Dr., Boise, ID 83725.
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