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A.2-1: Spatial Integration of Biological and Social Objectives to Identify Priority Landscapes for Waterfowl Habitat Conservation

Presented by Anastasia Krainyk - Email: akrainyk@usgs.gov

Waterfowl population management and habitat conservation compose one of the oldest and most successful adaptive management frameworks in the world. Since its inception, NAWMP has emphasized strategically targeted conservation investments in regions that most affect waterfowl population dynamics. By 2012, regional conservation had become more science-based and strategic: many migratory bird partnerships had ongoing projects on mapping and modeling waterfowl distribution and abundances using geospatial techniques. However, when developing a map depicting “Areas of Greatest Continental Significance to North American Ducks, Geese, and Swans” for the 2012 NAWMP Revision, waterfowl professionals articulated the need for improved decision frameworks and use of consistent datasets for refining large-scale spatial products depicting priority areas for waterfowl and people. We describe a framework for developing a spatial value model to support the identification of North American geographies of importance to waterfowl during the breeding and non-breeding periods and to resource users who could potentially support waterfowl habitat conservation. Objectives used to identify priority geographies were determined through a collaborative process of the Priority Landscapes Committee (PLC), and other experts in the fields of waterfowl ecology and human dimensions. ArcGIS Desktop was used as the platform for analyzing the spatial data as well as producing new data through spatial analysis functions. Thirty-eight spatial layers were developed, and several composite spatially explicit were produced based on PLC recommendations. The composite products have extensive similarities to the 2012 NAWMP map depicting areas of greatest continental significance to North American waterfowl. The structured decision-making framework application in this study is discussed, and the appropriate use of the products and their limitations are outlined. Options for future improvements are presented by identifying gaps in data collection, waterfowl-habitat association assumptions, and uncertainties related to social objectives. These spatial products are intended for use by national, regional, and province/state level wildlife professionals to aid decisions about waterfowl habitat conservation.
Session: Assessing & Adapting HD Initiatives (Tuesday, August 27, 10:30 to 12:00)