Reserachers: Anna Pidgeon and Ana Maria Venegas
In Chile, from where Ana Maria comes, one of the important conservation issues is the improvement of habitat conditions for wildlife after crucial change in land cover from native forest to pine plantation. Conservation actions which can be taken include suitable ways of harvesting and selecting logging. Important is also assessment of natural factors influence like climate changes and weather condition on different animal populations. This is why Ana Maria is focusing on changes in bird populations, but in her new work, she is focusing on the effects of extreme climate events, such as droughts and heat waves.
Changes in natural and anthropogenic systems influence wildlife conservation and management. In Chile, where Ana Maria comes from, one of the important issues is improvement of habitat conditions for wildlife after crucial change in land cover from native forest (Maulino forests) to pine plantations, especially in particular in the south-central part of the country. The main issue is to manage pine plantation in a way which allows to create good and suitable condition for wildlife i.e., a new home, and to maintain viable wildlife populations. One question is how to tailor forest management, such as changing harvesting techniques from clear cuts to and selecting logging, and to design spatial pattern of forest patches appropriate for wildlife. Important issue is also assessment of connectivity so that ecological corridors can be planned. One of example given by Ana Maria how we can deal with this issue is use of different landscape measure e.g. connector length or thickness which could help as to improve and design ecological corridors network. Another issue which is also related to management and wildlife conservation and on which currently Ana Maria is working is an assessment of changes in bird population in relation to climate changes and extreme weather condition. In her new research, Ana Marian evaluates of bird population dynamics, such as population size, survivorship, and reproduction based on banding data. The test area is located in New England. Statistical comparison between these changes and climate condition are a first step, including the assessment of trends and the influence of extreme weather condition. The benefits from Ana Maria study will be better understanding of the dynamics of bird population, which will allow to predict in advance trends of bird population and in case of decrease of its size, and thus to act accordingly by managing the habitat and increase food accessibility.