Forest patches are opportunities to conserve wildlife
Date: June 5, 2019
Source: University of California - Davis
Privately-owned, fragmented forests in Costa Rica can support as many vulnerable bird species as can nearby nature reserves, according to a study from the University of California, Davis.
The research suggests that working with landowners to conserve or restore forests on working landscapes can help protect wildlife. In Costa Rica, working landscapes include forest patches, crops, pastures and small towns.
The study, published June 5 in the Journal of Applied Ecology, found that reforesting private lands in regions that are wetter and already forested would yield the greatest gains for bird communities.
Such information is being used by local conservation organizations to help prioritize sites for rainforest restoration across the study region.
"With sufficient forest cover, working landscapes -- even if degraded and fragmented -- can maintain bird communities that are indistinguishable from those found in protected areas," said lead author Daniel Karp, an assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology. "This means that private landowners have great power to improve the conservation value of their lands through reforestation."