Date: Thursday, September 22nd from 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.
Presentation: Continental Population Objectives: Elegant Path or Unmarked Trail?
Presenter: Mitch Hartley, Atlantic Coast Joint Venture Coordinator, USFWS Northeast Region Office, Hadley, MA
Abstract: The bird conservation community developed and has been working towards continental population estimates and numeric population objectives for some species for 25 years now. However, there remain serious concerns about the approaches taken by some of the bird initiatives. We present a case study that examines the accuracy of bird population estimates at the subregional scale and suggest that sampling issues such as detectability, if not done carefully, can lead to large errors in these estimates. We will discuss several thorny issues to consider when setting population objectives, such as linking measures of progress at the local, state or regional scale with national or continental goals; how to evaluate progress when habitat availability is decreasing due to human uses, or changing randomly due to natural processes that cause populations to be dynamic (i.e., changes in habitat quality driven by weather, disturbances, etc.); and what are the expectations once population goals are met?
Bio: Mitch has both teaching and research experience in the Canadian prairies (Fellow at Delta Waterfowl & Wetlands Research Station), Central America, and Sweden. He has a researched the effects of forest management on wildlife populations, mostly in the northeastern US, for a decade. Mitch has previously worked for the National Audubon Society as a Post Doc at SUNY-ESF and Cornell Lab of Ornithology before starting as the Assistant Coordinator (Northeast) of the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture in 2004. He has been ACJV Coordinator since 2010. Mitch received his BS, Natural Resources from Cornell University, his MS, Wildlife Ecology, from Louisiana State University and his PhD, Wildlife Ecology, from the University of Maine.