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Proactive Conservation Management of an Island-endemic Bird Species in the Face of Global Change

Scott A. Morrison, T. Scott Sillett, Cameron K. Ghalambor, John W. Fitzpatrick, David M. Graber, Victoria J. Bakker, Reed Bowman, Charles T. Collins, Paul W. Collins, Kathleen Semple Delaney, Daniel F. Doak, Walter D. Koenig, Lyndal Laughrin, Alan A. Lieberman, John M. Marzluff, Mark D. Reynolds, J. Michael Scott, Jerre Ann Stallcup, Winston Vickers and Walter M. Boyce
Vol. 61, No. 12 (December 2011), pp. 1013-1021
DOI: 10.1525/bio.2011.61.12.11
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Page Count: 9
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Proactive Conservation Management of an Island-endemic Bird Species in the Face of Global Change
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Biodiversity conservation in an era of global change and scarce funding benefits from approaches that simultaneously solve multiple problems. Here, we discuss conservation management of the island scrub-jay (Aphelocoma insularis), the only island-endemic passerine species in the continental United States, which is currently restricted to 250-square-kilometer Santa Cruz Island, California. Although the species is not listed as threatened by state or federal agencies, its viability is nonetheless threatened on multiple fronts. We discuss management actions that could reduce extinction risk, including vaccination, captive propagation, biosecurity measures, and establishing a second free-living population on a neighboring island. Establishing a second population on Santa Rosa Island may have the added benefit of accelerating the restoration and enhancing the resilience of that island's currently highly degraded ecosystem. The proactive management framework for island scrub-jays presented here illustrates how strategies for species protection, ecosystem restoration, and adaptation to and mitigation of climate change can converge into an integrated solution.

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