Eastern temperate and boreal forests of North America contain declining populations of several migratory bird species. Breeding season habitat loss and degradation, and lack of structural complexity, have been proposed as potential drivers of declines. Forest management has moved toward balancing multiple age classes to support sustainable harvest and meet the needs of wildlife associated with different forest types, structural conditions, and landscape configurations. Extensive research on forest bird species-environment relationships has occurred in direct reference to, and outside of, this management context. In this systematic map, we propose to answer the review question: what evidence exists for bird species-environment relationships in eastern temperate and boreal forests of North America? The map will outline the available science for developing spatially-explicit forest management plans to benefit multiple bird species at regional scales. A global review recently found little evidence to support either positive or negative effects of systematic conservation planning on real-world management systems. This result was driven by the widespread absence of measureable criteria to evaluate plan performance and pervasive disconnects between conservation planners and management program evaluators. Successful evaluation of forest management requires, at minimum, the specification of metrics that clearly relate vegetation attributes (predictors) to bird-related outcomes (responses). This systematic map should aid in the selection of evaluation metrics that can be used across the entire planning-implementation-evaluation cycle to: (1) characterize baseline conditions, (2) specify target conditions, (3) and evaluate progress toward achieving targets.
This protocol describes methods to search for, identify, screen, and extract meta-data from primary research studies that report on bird species-environment relationships in eastern temperate and boreal forests of North America. Searches will be conducted using bibliographic databases and grey literature sources suggested by a technical oversight team comprised of practicing foresters and land managers. Inclusion and exclusion criteria will be specified to identify articles containing relevant information for meta-data extraction. Meta-data will be extracted from all eligible studies, summarized in a narrative systematic map report, and made available online as a searchable geodatabase.
Wildlife-habitat relationships, Silviculture, Forestry, Adaptive management, Evaluation, Migratory birds, Systematic conservation planning
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