Bird conservation strategy for Region 13: Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain boreal hardwood transition, references
Table of Contents
Section 1: Summary of results - All Birds, All Habitats
Element 1: Priority species assessment
These Bird Conservation Strategies identify “priority species” from all regularly occurring bird species in each BCR sub-region. Species that are vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance and threats are included as priorities because of their “conservation concern.” Some widely distributed and abundant “stewardship” species are also included. Stewardship species are included because they typify the national or regional avifauna and/or because they have a large proportion of their range and/or continental population in the sub-region; many of these species have some conservation concern, while others may not require specific conservation effort at this time. Species of management concern are also included as priority species when they are at (or above) their desired population objectives and require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species or because of their impacts on other species or habitats.
In Ontario, significant efforts to define priority species have already been undertaken for shorebirds, waterbirds, waterfowl and landbirds. The results of these bird group-specific planning efforts form the foundation of this integrated bird priority species list for BCR 13 ON. Birds identified as priority species in previous BCR 13 conservation plans were in general included as priority species. These priority species lists were drawn from Ontario Partners in Flight (2008) for landbirds, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP Plan Committee 2004) and the Ontario Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Implementation Plan (2007) for waterfowl, the Ontario Waterbird Conservation Plan (Zeran et al. unpubl.) for waterbirds and from the Ontario Shorebird Conservation Plan (Ross et al. 2003) for shorebirds. In addition, species that occur regularly within the BCR and have been assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), listed on Schedule 1 of the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) or included on the Species at Risk in Ontario list (SARO; Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 2013a) in the categories of Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern were added, current to November 2013. Further details on priority species assessment are found in Appendix 2.
The purpose of the prioritization exercise is to focus implementation efforts on the species and issues of greatest significance to Ontario’s avifauna. As with any priority-setting exercise, some important species may be excluded; however, the issues of importance to any excluded species are usually captured by addressing the threats identified for species that are included on the priority list. With this in mind, species present in the region only as migrants were included as priority species only when their inclusion introduced new regional conservation issues, such as for the protection of migratory staging sites. Otherwise, the BCR 13 ON strategy relies on conservation actions arising from threats to other priority species to address more general conservation concerns for migrants.
In all, 280 species of birds occur regularly in BCR 13 ON, 97 of which were assessed as priority species (Table 2) with representatives from all four bird groups. Landbirds show the greatest diversity in BCR 13 ON, representing nearly 66% of the candidate species list (Table 3). Many landbird species are uncommon or non-breeders in the region, and only 25% of them were assigned priority status. Still, landbirds contributed the greatest number of species to the priority list (46 species or 47%; Table 3). In contrast, more than two-thirds of the waterbirds present within the region were assigned priority status, contributing 24 species (25%) to the priority list. The diversity of breeding shorebirds and waterfowl in the region is low in comparison to landbirds. These groups contribute 11 and 16 species, respectively, to the priority species list, including a number present only as migrants (Table 2). Among the 97 priority species, 33 are assessed as “at risk” by COSEWIC; 25 are listed on Schedule 1 of the federal SARA, and 30 are included on the SARO list (Table 4).
|Bird Group||Priority Species||Population Objective||COSEWICa||SARAb||SAROc||Regional/
|Landbirds||Acadian Flycatcher||Recovery objective||Endangered (E)||E||E||Yes (Y)||-||Y||Y|
|Landbirds||American Kestrel||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||-||-|
|Landbirds||Bald Eagle||Recovery objectivef||-||-||Special Concern (SC)||Y||-||-||Y|
|Landbirds||Baltimore Oriole||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||-||-|
|Landbirds||Bank Swallow||Increase||Threatened (T)||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|Landbirds||Barn Owl||Recovery objective||E||E||E||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Barn Swallow||Recovery objective||T||-||T||Y||-||-||-|
|Landbirds||Blue-winged Warbler||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Canada Warbler||Recovery objectivef||T||T||SC||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Cerulean Warbler||Recovery objective||E||SC||T||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Chimney Swift||Recovery objectivef||T||T||T||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Common Nighthawk||Recovery objectivef||T||T||SC||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Eastern Meadowlark||Recovery objective||T||-||T||Y||-||-||-|
|Landbirds||Eastern Whip-poor-will||Recovery objectivef||T||T||T||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Golden-winged Warbler||Recovery objectivef||T||T||SC||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Henslow's Sparrow||Recovery objective||E||E||E||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Hooded Warbler||Recovery objective||-||T||-||Y||-||Y||Y|
|Landbirds||Kirtland's Warbler||Recovery objective||E||E||E||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Loggerhead Shrike (migrans)||Recovery objective||E||E||E||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Louisiana Waterthrush||Recovery objective||SC||SC||SC||Y||-||Y||Y|
|Landbirds||Northern Bobwhite||Recovery objectivef||E||E||E||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Northern Harrier||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||-||-|
|Landbirds||Northern Rough-winged Swallow||Increase||-||-||-||Y||-||-||-|
|Landbirds||Olive-sided Flycatcher||Recovery objectivef||T||T||SC||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Peregrine Falcon (anatum/
|Landbirds||Prothonotary Warbler||Recovery objective||E||E||E||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Red-headed Woodpecker||Recovery objectivef||T||T||SC||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Rose-breasted Grosbeak||Maintain current||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|Landbirds||Short-eared Owl||Recovery objectivef||SC||SC||SC||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Wood Thrush||Maintain current||T||-||-||Y||-||Y||-|
|Landbirds||Yellow-breasted Chat (virens)||Recovery objective||E||SC||E||Y||-||Y||-|
(no BCR 13-ON population objective)
(no BCR 13-ON population objective)
(no BCR 13-ON population objective)
|Shorebirds||Red Knot (rufa)||Migrant
(no BCR 13-ON population objective)
(no BCR 13-ON population objective)
|Waterbirds||Black Tern||Recovery objective||-||-||SC||Y||-||Y||-|
(no BCR 13-ON population objective)
|Waterbirds||Caspian Tern||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||-||-|
|Waterbirds||Common Loon||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||Y||-|
|Waterbirds||Great Black-backed Gull||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||-||-|
|Waterbirds||Great Blue Heron||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||-||-|
|Waterbirds||Great Egret||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||-||-|
|Waterbirds||Horned Grebe (western population)||Migrant
(no BCR 13-ON population objective)
|Waterbirds||King Rail||Recovery objective||E||E||E||Y||-||Y||-|
|Waterbirds||Least Bittern||Recovery objective||T||T||T||Y||-||Y||-|
(no BCR 13-ON population objective)
|Waterbirds||Pied-billed Grebe||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||-||-|
|Waterbirds||Virginia Rail||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||Y||-|
|Waterbirds||Yellow Rail||Recovery objective||SC||SC||SC||Y||-||Y||-|
|Waterfowl||American Black Duck||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||Y||-|
|Waterfowl||Canada Goose (Southern James Bay)||Migrantg
(no BCR 13-ON population objective)
(Temperate-breeding in Eastern Canada)
|Waterfowl||Common Goldeneye||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||Y||-|
|Waterfowl||Common Merganser||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||-||-|
|Waterfowl||Green-winged Teal||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||-||-|
|Waterfowl||Ring-necked Duck||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||-||-|
|Waterfowl||Tundra Swan||Maintain current||-||-||-||Y||-||-||-|
a Population objectives for migrant waterfowl are based on spring and fall staging surveys of the Great Lakes with the exception of the Southern James Bay Population of Canada Geese.
b A species of management interest due to its high abundance.
c Assessed by COSEWIC as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern.
d Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern (Species at Risk Public Registry 2013).
e Species listed as E, Endangered; T, Threatened; SC, Special Concern on the SARO List.
f Regional refers to BCR-wide (i.e., all jurisdictional data were used for the entire BCR) while sub-regional refers to the Ontario portion of the BCR only (i.e., Ontario BCR data were used).
g Only the landbird group distinguishes stewardship species from other priority species (see Panjabi et al. 2005)
h This species is listed under the federal SARA and/or the provincial Endangered Species Act 2007, but its federal and/or provincial recovery documents have not yet been finalized.
Note: All assessments, listings and designations are current to November 2013. A species can be on the priority list for more than one reason.
|Bird Group||Number of Species||Percent of Total Number of Species||Number of Priority Species||Percent Listed as Priority by Bird Group||Percent of Total Number of Priority Species|
|National/Continental Stewardshipm||8||Not Available (N/A)||N/A||N/A|
i Assessed by COSEWIC as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern.
j Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern.
k Species listed as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern on the List.
l Only the landbird group distinguishes stewardship species from other priority species (see Panjabi et al. 2005).
m Regional refers to BCR-wide (i.e., all jurisdictional data were used for the entire BCR), while sub-regional refers to the Ontario portion of the BCR only (i.e., Ontario BCR data were used).
n A species of management interest due to its high abundance.
o Insérez note b du tableau 1 ici.
Note: All assessments, listings and designations are current to November 2013.
A single species can be on the priority list for more than one reason.
Element 2: Habitats important to priority species
Identifying the broad habitat requirements for each priority species within the BCR allowed species to be grouped by shared habitat-based conservation issues and actions. If many priority species associated with the same habitat face similar conservation issues, then conservation action in that habitat may support populations of several priority species. BCR strategies use a modified version of the standard land cover classes developed by the United Nations (Food and Agriculture Organization 2000) to categorize habitats, and species were often assigned to more than one habitat class. In BCR 13 ON, two data sets were used to derive the extent of available BCR habitats. The Southern Ontario Land Resource Information System (SOLRIS) version 1.2 released April 2008 provides a comprehensive land cover/land use inventory of southern Ontario’s natural, rural and urban areas (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 2008). SOLRIS follows a standardized approach for ecosystem description, inventory and interpretation known as Ecological Land Classification (Lee et al. 1998) and covers the majority of the BCR. Provincial land cover (PLC) data were used to fill the information gaps for Manitoulin and North Channel Islands. PLC 27 is an Ontario land cover classification system produced wholly from satellite remote sensing data by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. It provides a classification of 27 broad land cover types for the province of Ontario north of the southern border of the Canadian Shield and reflects the nature of the land surface rather than the land use (Spectranalysis Inc., 2004).
Priority species used many different habitats, with wetlands most heavily used (40% of species; Figure 4). Although wetlands represent only 13% of land cover, prior to European settlement wetlands (greater than 10 ha) covered perhaps 25% or more of the region (Ducks Unlimited Canada 2010). The high number of wetland-associated priority species reflects the ongoing pressure on this important habitat. Similarly, herbaceous habitats (e.g., tallgrass prairie, savannah, alvar) were used by 23% of species, despite accounting for less than 1% of the region’s land cover, whereas cultivated and managed areas used by a similar fraction of species (32%) dominate the landscape. The populations of many priority species that had been restricted to native herbaceous habitats prior to European settlement flourished as they adapted to the cultivated and managed land that became available. The large number of priority species using these two habitat classes is due to alarming population declines as high-quality open country such as native and managed grasslands is lost or degraded.
The Great Lakes are a prominent feature of the region, and the beaches, mudflats and other coastal “bare areas” were used by 18% of species, while 21% used the waterbodies themselves (Great Lakes and inland waterbodies) (Figure 4). The two forested habitats were used by 12% (deciduous) and 13% (mixed wood) of priority species. Although the diversity of landbirds can be high in the forests of BCR 13 ON, many of these species were not identified as priorities. Forest cover has actually increased in BCR 13 ON over the last 70 years (Riley and Mohr 1994; Ontario Partners in Flight 2008) and populations of many but not all forest bird species show stable or increasing trends over the last 40 years (Environment and Climate Change Canada 2014). It may be that some of these species have stabilized at lower post-European settlement population levels. However, it remains important to keep common species common, and current habitat trends must be monitored as new studies are showing a decline in forest cover in the north-eastern United States following decades of increase (Foster et al. 2008).
Figure 4. Percent of priority species that are associated with each habitat type in BCR 8 ON.
Note: The total exceeds 100% because each species may use more than one habitat.
Long description for Figure 4
A horizontal bar graph indicating the percent of priority species (x axis) that are associated with each habitat type (y axis: deciduous, mixed wood, shrub/early successional, herbaceous, cultivated, bare areas, urban, wetlands, waterbodies, riparian) in BCR 13 ON. Note: The total exceeds 100% because each species may be assigned to more than one habitat.
|Cultivated and Managed Areas||31.96|
Element 3: Population objectives
Population objectives allow us to measure and evaluate conservation success. The objectives in this strategy are assigned to categories and are based on a quantitative or qualitative assessment of species’ population trends. If the population trend of a species is unknown, the objective is set as “assess and maintain,” and a monitoring objective is given. For any species listed under SARA or under provincial/territorial endangered species legislation, Bird Conservation Strategies defer to population objectives in available Recovery Strategies and Management Plans. If recovery documents are not yet available, interim breeding population objectives are provided by species, by habitat in Section 2 of the complete strategy. When recovery objectives are available, they will replace the interim objectives. The ultimate measure of conservation success will be the extent to which population objectives have been reached within the timeframes set by national and continental bird conservation plans.
The lands, habitats and ecosystems within BCR 13 ON have changed fundamentally and irreversibly over the last 200 years (Environment and Climate Change Canada 2013; Ontario Partners in Flight 2008). How they will contribute to restoring North America’s bird populations at natural abundances can be seen by referring to historic conditions, present-day conditions and new opportunities. Different bird species and guilds have flourished and declined with past changes to the ecosystems of BCR 13 ON. For example, forest birds were at peak abundance when BCR 13 ON was a forest biome prior to European land clearance. Subsequently, when forests in this region were converted to open country habitats for agriculture (peaking in extent in the early 20th century), populations of open country birds increased greatly (Ontario Partners In Flight 2008). Today, high-quality open country habitats are in decline and with each successive ecosystem state, the population abundance of few, if any, bird guilds have remained the same. Furthermore, new species colonized BCR 13 ON when ecosystem changes favoured them. Therefore, the BCR 13 ON priority species represent different ecological reference points. Setting population and habitat targets that contribute to North American population goals must be done in the context of the relationship of a species’ status relative to these previous ecosystem states. There are, therefore, multiple reference points for setting objectives for sustainable populations and habitat that reflect population levels prior to various widespread declines associated with the different bird species and guilds.
Unlike many BCRs in Canada, much of BCR 13 ON is well covered by large-scale bird surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, the Christmas Bird Count, the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, the Ontario Shorebird Survey, the Southern Ontario Breeding Waterfowl Plot Survey, the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program, the Great Lakes Colonial Waterbird Monitoring Surveys and decadal migrant waterfowl surveys of the major shorelines in southern Ontario. Consequently, the status of birds in Southern Ontario is relatively well known, which facilitates the setting of population objectives for priority species. For 24% of priority species, monitoring data suggested declines with sufficient certainty to support an objective of increasing population size (Figure 5). In contrast, populations were sufficiently elevated to warrant a reduction in population size for two priority species: the Eastern Temperate-breeding Canada Goose and non-native invasive Mute Swan. Both are species of management interest for Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service in Ontario Region. Maintaining populations at current levels (including most migrant waterfowl) was the objective for 23% of the priority species in BCR 13 ON, while only 12% of priority species were assigned a population objective of Assess/Maintain because monitoring data were insufficient to propose an objective. Six of these species were waterbirds. Among breeding birds, waterbirds and especially marsh birds are perhaps the most difficult group to monitor in BCR 13 ON, and population size and status remain poorly known for a number of species. A recovery objective was assigned to 30% of priority species, which are all species at risk whose breeding range occurs within this BCR, though their recovery documents may not yet be finalized. Nine percent (9 %) of priority species were identified as migrating through BCR 13 ON, including the federally and provincially endangered Red Knot (rufa), and were not assigned an objective as those were set in other BCR strategies covering the breeding range of these species. However, population goals were established for migrant waterfowl, recognizing both the importance of migratory staging habitat to waterfowl and the importance of migrant waterfowl to society. One exception is the Southern James Bay population of Canada Geese, which is impossible to differentiate from temperate breeders during routine aerial surveys.
Figure 5. Percent of priority species that are associated with each population objective category in BCR 13 ON.
Long description for Figure 5
A horizontal bar graph indicating the percent of priority species (x axis) that are associated with each population objective (y axis; increase, assess/maintain, maintain current, recovery objective, decrease, migrant) in BCR 13 ON.
Element 4: Threat assessment for priority species
Bird population trends may be driven by factors that negatively affect either their reproduction or survival during any point in their annual life cycle. Threats that can reduce survival include reduced food availability at migratory stopovers or exposure to toxic compounds. Examples of threats that can reduce reproductive success are high levels of nest predation or reduced quality or quantity of breeding habitat. The threats assessment process (which is based on the methods described in Salafsky et al. 2008) identifies threats believed to have a population-level effect on individual priority species. These threats are assigned a relative magnitude (Low, Medium, High, Very High) based on their scope (the proportion of the species’ range within the sub-region that is impacted) and severity (the relative impact on the priority species’ population). This allows us to target conservation actions towards threats with the greatest effects on suites of species or in broad habitat classes. Some well-known conservation issues may not be identified in the literature as significant threats to populations of an individual priority species and therefore may not be captured in the threat assessment. However, they merit attention in conservation strategies because of the large numbers of individual birds affected in many regions of Canada. Usually these issues transcend habitat types and are considered “widespread,” and these issues are addressed in a separate section of the complete strategy, but unlike other threats, they are not ranked (e.g., climate change and severe weather; threat category 11).
In BCR 13 ON, threat category 12 “other direct threats” and sub-category 12.1 “Information lacking” was used to identify priority species that lack adequate biological or demographic information required for population conservation and management. Using this category in this manner facilitated the development of targeted research and monitoring conservation actions to address knowledge gaps for these species, but unlike the other threats, they were not ranked (Figure 6).
Because of the highly human-altered landscape, priority birds in BCR 13 ON face a significant number of anthropogenic threats, greater in both number and intensity than for birds in Ontario’s more northerly BCRs (Figure 6 and Table 5). The dominant threats relate to habitat loss and degradation from a variety of sources including residential and commercial development (threat category 1), agriculture (category 2), transportation and service corridors (category 4), biological resource use (category 5), invasive and other problematic species (category 8), pollution (category 9), natural system modifications (category 7) such as succession in grasslands in the absence of natural fire regimes, or unnatural regulation of water levels in wetlands, and also human intrusion and disturbance of breeding or foraging birds (category 6). These threats are discussed in more detail in subsequent sections of the complete strategy, but the diversity and magnitude of threats are noteworthy (Figure 6). Within BCR 13 ON, threats related to climate change and severe weather (category 11), collisions with vehicles (category 4), and collisions with buildings (category 1) were considered to be widespread and as such are discussed in the Widespread Issues section of the complete strategy.
Cumulative effects of threats to priority species
For several of the threats identified in this strategy, the long-term combined or cumulative effect may be greater than the sum of the effects of the individual threat. There is no standardized method for assessing these “cumulative effects.” The threat ranking and roll-up procedures (Appendix 2) demonstrate the sum of effects for threats within and among threat categories and are useful for identifying the most important threats within a habitat class or the relative importance of individual threats across the BCR sub-region (Table 5). These procedures also identify whether a large number of low-level threats may be affecting a species. However, it is important to consider that threats might interact in unanticipated ways or that, in aggregate, threats might exceed some ecological threshold to produce cumulative effects of an unanticipated magnitude. Cumulative impact studies assessing population responses to multiple stressors are an important tool to better understand the long-term consequences of some of the threats described in this strategy.
Figure 6. Percent of identified threats to priority species within BCR 13 ON by threat sub-category.
Note: Each bar represents the percent of the total number of threats identified in each threat sub-category in BCR 13 ON (for example, if 100 threats were identified in total for all priority species in BCR 13 ON, and 10 of those threats were in the category 6.1 Recreational activities, the bar on the graph would represent this as 10%). Shading in the bars (VH = very high, H = high, M = medium and L = low) represents the magnitude of the threats in each threat sub-category in the BCR. The bars are divided to show the distribution of Low (L), Medium (M), High (H) and Very High (VH) rankings of individual threats within each threat sub-category. For example, the same threat may have been ranked H for one species and L for another. The overall rolled-up magnitude of the threat sub-category is shown at the end of each bar (also presented in Table 5). Threat sub-category 12.1 Information lacking was not ranked.
Long description for Figure 6
A horizontal bar graph indicating the percent of identified threats to priority species (x axis) within BCR 8 ON by threat subcategory (y axis; Recreational Activities, roads and railroads, etc.).
|12.1 Information lacking 6.72||-||-||-||-|
|9.3 Agricultural and forestry effluents||1.91||4.71||2.41||-|
|9.2 Industrial and military effluents||2.41||4.01||0.6||-|
|8.3 Introduced genetic material||-||-||-||0.2|
|8.2 Problematic native species||2.21||1.4||0.2||0.2|
|8.1 Invasive non-native/alien species||2.11||2.11||3.71||0.3|
|7.3 Other ecosystem modifications||0.6||0.3||0.2||-|
|7.2 Dams and water management/use||3.21||0.9||1.1||-|
|7.1 Fire and fire suppression||0.7||0.9||1.2||0.3|
|6.3 Work and other activities||-||0.4||0.3||0.3|
|6.1 Recreational activities||2.31||3.01||2.51||0.2|
|5.4 Fishing and harvesting aquatic resources||0.2||0.4||0.6||-|
|5.3 Logging and wood harvesting||0.5||0.5||0.9||0.6|
|4.3 Shipping lanes||2.61||-||-||-|
|4.1 Roads and railroads||1.3||3.11||0.7||0.1|
|3.2 Mining and quarrying||0.9||1.1||0.5||-|
|2.3 Livestock farming and ranching||2.01||1.71||0.2||0.3|
|2.1 Annual and perennial non-timber crops||0.9||4.01||4.91||1.71|
|1.2 Commercial and industrial areas||0.1||0.3||1.3||-|
|1.1 Housing and urban areas||1.3||4.01||7.52||1.4|
Threats to priority species while they are outside Canada during the non-breeding season were also assessed and are presented in the section Threats Outside Canada of the complete version of the strategy.
|Threat Category||Habitat Class
Cultivated and Managed Areas
|Overall Rank||Very High (VH)||VH||High (H)||VH||VH||H||H||VH||VH||H||-|
|1. Residential and Commercial Development||VH||VH||H||H||H||VH||H||VH||H||H||VH|
|2. Agriculture and Aquaculture||VH||VH||H||VH||VH||-||-||VH||-||H||VH|
|3. Energy Production and Mining||-||-||-||Medium (M)||-||H||-||Low-magnitude threats (L)||L||L||M|
|4. Transportation and Service Corridors||M||M||-||H||H||L||M||M||-||M||H|
|5. Biological Resource Use||VH||VH||-||-||-||-||-||H||M||M||VH|
|6. Human Intrusions and Disturbance||L||L||L||M||VH||H||H||H||VH||H||VH|
|7. Natural System Modifications||L||L||VH||VH||VH||M||-||H||L||-||VH|
|8. Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes||VH||H||H||H||H||H||L||VH||VH||L||VH|
Note: Only threats with a population-level effect were considered, and overall ranks were generated through a roll-up procedure described in Kennedy et al. (2012). L represents Low-magnitude threats, M: Medium, H: High, VH: Very High. Cells with hyphens indicate that no priority species had threats identified in the threat category/habitat combination.
Element 5: Conservation objectives
Conservation objectives were designed to address threats and information gaps that were identified for priority species. They describe the environmental conditions and research and monitoring that are thought to be necessary for progress towards population objectives and to understand underlying conservation issues for priority bird species. As conservation objectives are reached, they will collectively contribute to achieving population objectives. Whenever possible, conservation objectives were developed to benefit multiple species and/or respond to more than one threat.
For BCR 13 ON, the majority of conservation objectives identified relate to ensuring an adequate supply and quality of habitat (conservation objective category 1; Figure 7). Included in these objectives are the maintenance and/or restoration of the full range and diversity of habitat types, maintaining the quality of existing habitats, and retaining important features on the landscape (e.g., standing dead snags for cavity-nesting birds). Also important is the need to manage individual species (category 3). Most of the objectives in this category relate to the prevention and control of invasive and exotic species as well as the development and/or implementation of recovery strategies and management plans for the numerous species at risk in BCR 13 ON. The third-most identified conservation objective category reflects the need to improve understanding of factors causing population declines of priority species as well as enhancing population/demographic and habitat monitoring across the BCR (category 7). Other objectives address the need to reduce human disturbance of priority species (category 4), ensure adequate food supply through the maintenance of natural food webs and prey sources (category 5), and reduce mortality (and/or sub-lethal effects) through reductions in pesticide use across the BCR (category 2).
Figure 7. Percent of all conservation objectives assigned to each conservation objective category in BCR 13 ON.
Long description for Figure 7
A horizontal bar graph indicating the percent of all conservation objectives (x axis) assigned to each conservation objective category (y axis; ensure adequate habitat, reduce disturbance, etc.) in BCR 13 ON.
|1. Ensure adequate habitat||34.35|
|2. Reduce mortality/increase productivity||3.38|
|3. Manage individual species||33.37|
|4. Reduce disturbance||5.45|
|5. Ensure adequate food supplies||6.32|
|7. Improve understanding||17.12|
Element 6: Recommended actions
Recommended actions indicate on-the-ground activities that will help to achieve the conservation objectives (Figure 8). Actions are strategic rather than highly detailed and prescriptive. Whenever possible, recommended actions benefit multiple species and/or respond to more than one threat. Recommended actions defer to or support those provided in recovery documents for species at risk at the federal, provincial or territorial level and will usually be more general than those developed for individual species. However, for detailed recommendations for species at risk, readers should consult published federal recovery documents (Species at Risk Public Registry 2013) or provincial recovery documents (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 2013b). Similarly, a number of landbird species included in this strategy are stewardship species as defined by Partners in Flight (Rich et al. 2004). These are species with stable populations or for which no specific conservation issues have been identified, but which depend on BCR 13 ON to such an extent that the region has a high responsibility for their protection. These species may not appear prominently in the threats, objectives and actions described herein, but should benefit from the implementation of actions that target multiple species.
The proposed conservation actions for BCR 13 ON are diverse in their approach (Figure 8), demonstrating the need for a multi-faceted strategy for conservation in this highly developed region. Recognizing that a large majority of lands in the region are privately owned, only a small proportion of the actions relate to the direct protection of land (action sub-category 1.1). Instead, a majority of actions focus on habitat restoration and management (sub-categories 2.1, and 2.3) for priority species by engaging landowners and other stakeholders in conservation. Developing and implementing effective policies and regulations (sub-category 5.2), the development, use and promotion of BMPs (sub-category 5.3), increasing awareness about conservation issues (sub-category 4.3), developing partnerships (sub-category 7.2), determining factors causing population declines and improving the scientific knowledge that underlies management decisions (sub-category 8.1) all figure prominently in the suite of conservation actions proposed for this region. Engaging stakeholders in actions that restore the function and resilience of ecosystems in this highly impacted region ensures that conservation successes can be maintained over the long term.
Figure 8. Percent of recommended actions assigned to each sub-category in BCR 13 ON.
“Research and monitoring” actions refer to individual species where information is required to support conservation and management.
Long description for Figure 8
A horizontal bar graph indicating the percent of recommended action (x axis) assigned to each sub-category of recommended actions (y axis; Site/area protection, Species Management, etc.) in BCR 13 ON.
|1.1 Site/area protection||4.58|
|1.2 Resource and habitat protection||4.87|
|2.1 Site/area management||10.37|
|2.2 Invasive/problematic species control||1.72|
|2.3 Habitat and natural process restoration||15.83|
|3.1 Species management||0.22|
|3.2 Species recovery||9.27|
|4.3 Awareness and communications||11.36|
|5.2 Policies and regulations||21.68|
|5.3 Private sector standards and codes||7.59|
|5.4 Compliance and enforcement||3.70|
|6.4 Conservation payments||1.21|
|7.2 Alliance and partnership development||1.72|
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