Land Bird Conservation Plan Colorado  

Executive Summary
Overview of Colorado
Physiographic Region 36
Physiographic Region 62

  • Alpine Tundra
  • Aspen
  • Cliff/Rock
  • High Elevation Riparian
  • Lowland Riparian
  • Mixed Conifer
  • Mountain Shrubland
  • Ponderosa Pine
  • Sagebrush Shrubland
  • Spruce Fir
  • Wetlands

  • Physiographic Region 87
    Implementation Strategies
    Literature Cited

    Physiographic Region 62: Southern Rocky Mountains

    Aspen - Implementation Strategies

    Bird Monitoring

    Goal: To monitor or track all breeding birds in aspen-dominated woodlands and document distribution, population trends, and abundance in a statistically acceptable manner.

    Objective: All species with AI > 2 will be monitored with count-based methods.

    Strategy: Monitoring will be accomplished through the combined efforts of agencies with primary responsibility for managing this habitat.

    Strategy: Monitoring will continue to rely on BBS data, with data from CBO's Monitoring Colorado's Birds (MCB) program incorporated as it becomes available.

    Status: MCB program implemented aspen transects in 1998 and ran a total of 26 transects in 1999; trend data should be available for most species within 5-12 years.

    Objective: All priority birds in aspen-dominated habitats in Colorado will be monitored.

    Strategy: MCB will monitor Broad-tailed Hummingbird and Violet-green Swallow using point transects.

    Status: Analysis of 1999 MCB transects show that they will adequately monitor the trend of Broad-tailed Hummingbird and Violet-green Swallow.

    Strategy: MCB will monitor trend of Red-naped Sapsucker using continuous-count transects.

    Status: Analysis of 1999 MCB transects show that they will adequately monitor the trend of Red-naped Sapsucker.

    Strategy: MCB will census all known Purple Martin nesting sites in Colorado.

    Status: 81 nesting sites were censussed in 1999.

    Objective: Population demographic monitoring will be instituted for all species in aspen-dominated woodlands with PT of 4 or 5.

    Status: As of 1999, no aspen species were known to have PT of 4 or 5.

    Habitat Monitoring

    Goal: To monitor aspen habitat in Colorado in order to document amount, condition, and ownership.

    Objective: Develop collaborative efforts to use GIS in mapping aspen habitat, documenting amount, condition, and ownership. Potential collaborators include CDOW, CNHP, CBO, USGS, Rocky Mountain National Park, and TNC.

    Status: CDOW's current statewide GAP coverage adequately identifies pure aspen stands statewide, but mixed aspen-conifer stands are not adequately identified.

    Objective: Use GIS to map and monitor all natural and prescribed fires in aspen-dominated woodlands state wide.

    Status: No statewide system has been developed yet to monitor fire occurrence in aspen-dominated woodlands.

    Objective: Use GIS to map and monitor all harvest activities in aspen-dominated woodlands statewide.

    Status: No statewide system has been developed yet to monitor harvest activities in aspen-dominated woodlands. However, most National Forest units in Colorado have GIS activity layers that delineate recent harvest areas.

    Habitat Core Areas

    Goal: To conserve unique representative and/or large, ecologically-functioning examples of aspen habitat in Colorado.

    Objective: Identify and nominate at least three IBAs in aspen-dominated woodlands. These stands should have significant populations of all aspen priority birds. At least two should include mature stands that are not grazed by domestic livestock. At least one should be a stand in southwest Colorado that incorporates extensive aspen clones.

    Status: No IBAs have been identified yet in aspen-dominated woodlands.

    Site-based Conservation

    Goal: To identify and preserve local sites that are important for the conservation of priority species breeding in aspen habitat.

    Objective: Identify sites that are appropriate for designation as IBAs, nominate them, and promote involvement of key agencies and personnel for conserving these areas.

    Status: No IBAs have been identified yet in aspen-dominated woodlands.

    Management Practices

    Goal: To promote management practices that benefit birds in aspen habitat.

    Objective: Reintroduce and maintain natural disturbance regimes at the landscape level.

    Strategy: Encourage public land management agencies to designate areas where natural fires will be allowed to burn with minimal human intervention and to consider allowing stand-replacement fires to burn in areas where private property or significant natural or cultural resources are not threatened.

    Status: Most National Forest units in Colorado have plans in place that identify specific areas where natural fires can be allowed to burn, or where only minimal control actions will be undertaken following natural ignitions.

    Objective: In commercial harvest areas, design aspen patch cuts to closely mimic natural disturbance patch size and landscape distribution and to maintain bird diversity and relative abundance on the planning unit.

    Strategy: Distribute aspen patch cuts of 2 to 8 ha (5-20 ac) across the planning area to maintain bird diversity and abundance on the planning unit and to minimize effects of ungulate browsing on regeneration.

    Status: Most National Forest units in Colorado include aspen patch cuts of 2 to 8 ha (5-20 ac) in size in commercial aspen timber sales.

    Objective: Manage domestic livestock grazing in aspen-dominated woodlands to ensure maintenance of nesting cover and structure for ground-nesting birds.

    Strategy: Replace season-long livestock grazing in aspen habitats with rest-rotation grazing systems.

    Strategy: Monitor livestock use in aspen grazing allotments to ensure livestock effects are within standards and guidelines.

    Strategy: Use results of grazing monitoring to ensure maintenance or improvement of habitat structure for ground-nesting birds.

    Interstate/International Wintering Grounds

    Goal: To conserve the wintering ground habitat used by Colorado's migratory aspen birds outside the state.

    Objective: Identify and map key wintering sites, habitats, and habitat components for all four aspen priority birds.

    Strategy: Coordinate with appropriate state, federal, and foreign governments and agencies to identify, map and conserve key wintering sites, habitats, and habitat components for aspen priority birds.

    Status: Key wintering sites, habitats, and habitat components for aspen priority birds have not yet been identified.

    Migration Concerns

    Goal: To protect migratory stopover habitat for aspen birds.

    Objective: Identify important migratory stopover areas for priority species that breed in Colorado.

    Objective: Track amount, condition, and ownership of key migratory stopover sites.

    Strategy: Coordinate with appropriate state PIFs, domestic and foreign government agencies, and NGOs to protect migratory habitat through Habitat Core Areas and Site-based Conservation goals and objectives.

    Outreach and Education

    Goal: To provide information on aspen habitat birds, aspen ecology, habitat management techniques and wildlife values to children, teachers, naturalists, landowners, natural resource professionals, and other interested parties.

    Strategy: Make educational materials available at local nature centers and natural resource agency offices.

    Strategy: Hold workshops and field programs for teachers.

    Strategy: Hold workshops and field programs for natural resource professionals (CDOW, BLM, and USFS staff).

    Strategy: Present information at Teacher Association meetings, conferences, other annual meetings.

    Strategy: Submit manuscripts to popular magazines for children and adults.

    Research Priorities

    Goal: To identify and facilitate research that will aid in understanding and managing aspen habitats for Colorado's birds.

    Objective: To identify the top ten research needs in aspen habitat in Colorado.

    Status: The following research needs have been identified:

    1. Test the effect of livestock grazing intensity on ground-nesting bird abundance, productivity and habitat selection.

    2. Test the effect of harvest patch size and rotation age on breeding bird diversity and relative abundance.

    3. Locate all possible Purple Martin colonies in Colorado and study habitat selection in relation to land management activities.

    Objective: Facilitate investigations to answer these questions.

    Strategy: Provide information about priority needs to universities, public and private research entities, identify funding sources, and promote collaboration between management and research agencies.

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