Background/Question/Methods Since 1970, North America has lost 2.5 billion migratory birds and global temperatures have risen by 0.68 degrees C, threatening up to 2/3 of North American bird species with extinction. During this time period, we have developed new technologies for tracking long-distance migratory species, which have revealed connections among the different seasons of the annual cycle and spatial movements across the Western Hemisphere.
The future of migratory birds depends on the timely use of this information to develop evidence-based hemispheric conservation strategies. However, broad-scale spatial prioritizations for migratory bird conservation planning have not included individual-based tracking and connectivity data, which can provide unique information to identify important places, pressing threats, and effective conservation solutions. We describe a spatially-explicit approach for integrating tracking, connectivity and occurrence data which is then used as the basis for a multi-species, full annual cycle, spatial prioritization process to identify areas of high conservation value across the Western Hemisphere.
As part of a separate effort, we identified climate strongholds through a complementarity-based optimization approach that incorporated current and future predicted species distributions, habitat availability, and quality. To achieve maximum conservation impact, we compared our prioritization outputs with climate stronghold maps.
Results/Conclusions By integrating bird banding, tracking, and occurrence data, we predicted and mapped migration pathways and non-migratory distributions for individual species to explicitly incorporate migration into hemispheric spatial prioritizations. We identified areas of high conservation value for migratory birds across their full annual cycle by combining maps across multiple species. These types of integrated movement models can incorporate behavioral mechanisms into hemispheric distributional patterns for individual or multiple species. By overlaying our full annual cycle prioritizations with climate strongholds, we identified places that offer no-regret opportunities to address migratory bird conservation and climate vulnerability.