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Wednesday, January 27 • 1:40pm - 2:00pm
The Conservation Atlas For Midwest Grasslands: A New Mapping Tool To Support Strategic Decisions and Cross-Sector Collaboration

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AUTHORS: Dan Lambert*, High Branch Conservation Services; Ryan Drum, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Wayne Thogmartin, U.S. Geological Survey; Chad Wilsey, National Audubon Society; Katie Koch, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Tom Will, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Rosalind Renfrew, Vermont Center for Ecostudies

ABSTRACT: Despite decades of conservation attention, grassland bird populations are declining faster than any other group of breeding birds in North America, with especially pronounced decreases occurring in the Midwest. Agricultural intensification and land-use change have contributed to the declines via widespread habitat loss and degradation. In response, conservation agencies and organizations have identified large remaining grasslands and grassland complexes as priorities for protection. These groups are now partnering to create a network of grassland landscapes in order to support coordinated implementation of local, state and regional conservation plans. The Midwest Grasslands Network has recently synthesized spatial information in a conservation-planning atlas that is designed to display and uphold the ecological and societal values of native, restored, and surrogate grasslands. The Conservation Atlas for Midwest Grasslands is an online mapping tool and information clearinghouse serving the eastern Prairie Potholes, Upper Mississippi River - Great Lakes, and Central Hardwoods ecoregions. It combines information about grassland values and vulnerabilities to support decisions at multiple scales. Atlas users can view strategic focal areas in relation to current conservation boundaries, bird locations, and areas that are important for water-quality protection, carbon sequestration, and butterfly conservation. Potential applications include: landscape conservation design and gap analysis; project ranking for grants, easements, purchases, and incentive programs; coordination of research and monitoring; land-use education; and building partnerships among diverse grassland stakeholders.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST