Limited knowledge of the distribution, abundance, and habitat associations of migratory species hinders effective conservation actions. We use Neotropical migratory birds as a model group to compare approaches to prioritize land conservation needed to support ≥30% of the global abundances of 117 species. Specifically, we compare scenarios from spatial optimization models to achieve conservation targets by: 1) area requirements for conserving >30% abundance of each species for each week of the year independently vs. combined; 2) including vs. ignoring spatial clustering of species abundance; and 3) incorporating vs. avoiding human-dominated landscapes. Solutions integrating information across the year require 56% less area than those integrating weekly abundances, with additional reductions when shared-use landscapes are included. Although incorporating spatial population structure requires more area, geographical representation among priority sites improves substantially. These findings illustrate that globally-sourced citizen science data can elucidate key trade-offs among opportunity costs and spatiotemporal representation of conservation efforts.
Nature Communications
Department of Biology

Schuster, R. (Richard), Wilson, S, Rodewald, A.D. (Amanda D.), Arcese, P. (Peter), Fink, D. (Daniel), Auer, T. (Tom), & Bennett, J.R. (2019). Optimizing the conservation of migratory species over their full annual cycle. Nature Communications, 10(1). doi:10.1038/s41467-019-09723-8