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Seney National Wildlife Refuge Reconciling Yellow Rail Habitat Use And Landscape Dynamics At Seney National Wildlife Refuge Greg Corace Seney NWR

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Presentation on theme: "Seney National Wildlife Refuge Reconciling Yellow Rail Habitat Use And Landscape Dynamics At Seney National Wildlife Refuge Greg Corace Seney NWR"— Presentation transcript:

1 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Reconciling Yellow Rail Habitat Use And Landscape Dynamics At Seney National Wildlife Refuge Greg Corace Seney NWR Charles Goebel Ohio State Univ. Dan Kashian Wayne State Univ.

2 To address impacts to biodiversity, conservation biology and restoration ecology take different approaches (see Young 2000; Noss et al. 2006). Conservation biology = genes, species, populations Restoration ecology = ecological processes/patterns, communities For managers of wild landscapes, the oversimplification of ecosystems is of special consideration [sensu “ecological forestry” (Franklin 1989) and “natural range of variation” (Landres et al. 1999)]

3 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Celebrating a Century of Conservation

4 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Celebrating a Century of Conservation

5 Seney National Wildlife Refuge

6 Celebrating a Century of Conservation

7 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Celebrating a Century of Conservation Refuge Land Management OwnershipLand Cover Refuge System Policy- Refuge Legislation Ecosystem Capabilities-Disturbance Patterns-Function Planning & Mgmt. Drobyshev et al. 2008a,b CJFR and FEM Corace et al EnvMgmt.

8 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Alterations to Mixed-Pine Forests: Conserving and Restoring Infrequently Disturbed Ecosystems High-grading or clear cuts followed by fire outside “natural range of variation” (1880s-1930s). Now, natural, late successional, mixed pine one of the more regionally imperiled ecosystem type (Noss and Scott 1997) Time

9 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Ecological Considerations for Landscape Management Based on Soils, Disturbances, and Resulting Composition and Structure 1 Burger and Kotar Forest community and habitat types of Michigan. Major and/or frequent ecological disturbances (e.g., crown fire) push stands to earlier seral stages, minor and/or infrequent disturbances (e.g., surface fire) to later seral stages. Pinus strobus/Vaccinium angustifolium- Epigaea repens (PVE) Habitat Type 1

10 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Developing a fire history for Seney Dendrochronologically reconstructed the fire regime for the past 300+ years Drobyshev et al CJFR 38:

11 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Fire chronology Drobyshev et al CJFR 38: Drobyshev et al Dendrochronologia 30:

12 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Characteristics of the fire regime Drobyshev et al CJFR 38:

13 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Seasonality of fires Early season fires Late season fires Drobyshev et al CJFR 38:

14 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Fire return interval (FRI): year (on average) pre-European, but Great Cutover fires significantly more frequent and fires less common now; FRI of large (>10,000 ha) events mean 37 years, range 19 – 73 years (landscape-scale fires in 1754, 1791, 1864, 1891, 1910, 1976); Seasonality: fires occurred in early, mid- and late-season, but large fires were solely late season events; 10-fold increase in fire rotation (<100 years pre-European to 1,000 years present-day) ; Altered hydrology likely linked to altered fire regime across the landscape. Overview of Findings: Disturbance History Drobyshev et al CJFR 38:

15 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Numerous studies 1 on the breeding ground at Seney have suggested a relationship between YERA and ecological processes, primarily fire; Recent work by Austin (2013, Waterbirds) indicated a preference for sites burned within 5 yrs.; However, liberal estimate of FRI in these systems si 25 yr (5x what YERA seem to prefer)....so, did we miss fires or is something at else at play? What’s to Reconcile? 1 Bookout and Stenzel (1987) Wilson Bulletin; Burkman (1993) Northern Michigan Univ. (M.S.)

16 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Detection probabilities for fires of different size classes within Wilderness and non-Wilderness portions of Seney National Wildlife Refuge during three time periods. Wilderness Non-Wilderness Fire size class (ha) 1707– – – – – – Note: Fires >1200 ha in size had detection probability of 1 in both areas and for all time periods. Fire size column refers to the upper limit of the respective size class; the center of each class was used for calculation of the detection probability (e.g., 250 ha for 200–300 ha size class). Drobyshev et al CJFR 38:

17 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Not all lightning strikes cause fires, even with altered hydrology!

18 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Celebrating a Century of Conservation Thinking Landscapes

19 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Time Then NowFuture Degree of change from historical system High Low Level of intervention required C B A Jackson and Hobbs Science. 325: Numbers=trajectories, unmanaged Letters = trajectories, managed Prohibitive Modest

20 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Bork et al Am. Mid. Nat. 169: Walsh Ditch (~27 km) Ditch Plugs Veg./Hydro. Transects

21 Seney National Wildlife Refuge Future Work? Quantify wetland composition and structure across a chronosequence of Rx and wildfire (Rx fire mapped since 1935); Quantify secretive marshbird occupancy (abundance?) across restoration gradient: benchmark (control)- altered-restored; Improve spatial and temporal planning of Rx fire treatments across landscape.

22 Seney National Wildlife Refuge

23 Post-Doc: Igor Drobyshev (OSU) Grad. Student: Steven Rist (OSU) Assistants: Too many to mention, but thanks to all! Funding: Joint Fire Science Program, Seney NWR, The Ohio State University, Wayne State University, Seney Natural History Association Reconciling Yellow Rail Habitat Use And Landscape Dynamics At Seney National Wildlife Refuge


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