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Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Forest Resource Management


Rapid global climate change is resulting in novel abiotic and biotic conditions and in‐ teractions. Identifying management strategies that maximize probability of long‐term persistence requires an understanding of the vulnerability of species to environmen‐ tal changes. We sought to quantify the vulnerability of Kirtland's Warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii), a rare Neotropical migratory songbird that breeds almost exclusively in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and winters in the Bahamian Archipelago, to pro‐ jected environmental changes on the breeding and wintering grounds. We devel‐ oped a population‐level simulation model that incorporates the influence of annual environmental conditions on the breeding and wintering grounds, and parameter‐ ized the model using empirical relationships. We simulated independent and addi‐ tive effects of reduced breeding grounds habitat quantity and quality, and wintering grounds habitat quality, on population viability. Our results indicated the Kirtland's Warbler population is stable under current environmental and management condi‐ tions. Reduced breeding grounds habitat quantity resulted in reductions of the stable population size, but did not cause extinction under the scenarios we examined. In contrast, projected large reductions in wintering grounds precipitation caused the population to decline, with risk of extinction magnified when breeding habitat quan‐ tity or quality also decreased. Our study indicates that probability of long‐term per‐ sistence for Kirtland's Warbler will depend on climate change impacts to wintering grounds habitat quality and contributes to the growing literature documenting the importance of considering the full annual cycle for understanding population dynam‐ ics of migratory species.

Source Citation

Brown, D. J., Donner, D. M., Ribic, C. A., & Bocetti, C. I. (2019). Influence of climate change and postdelisting management on long‐term population viability of the conservation‐reliant Kirtland’s Warbler. Ecology and Evolution, 9(18), 10263–10276.


This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2019 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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