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Wednesday, January 27 • 2:00pm - 2:20pm
Change Strategies For The Future of Grassland Birds In The Midwest: A Conservation Deliberation

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AUTHORS: Tom Will*, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Kristen Nelson, University of Minnesota; Dan Lambert, Vermont Center for Ecostudies

ABSTRACT: During the 2015 fall semester, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the multi-partner Midwest Grassland Network, and the University of Minnesota hosted an interdisciplinary seminar on the Saint Paul campus and via videoconference. Thirty USFWS biologists, conservation scientists, graduate students, faculty, and conservation professionals convened weekly to interchange ideas focused on addressing a fundamentally challenging problem—how can we replicate local grassland conservation successes at a scale sufficient to reverse the wholesale loss of native grassland and the precipitous population-level declines of grassland birds in the Midwest? Students and practitioners from diverse disciplines—conservation biology, ecology, sociology, economics, policy, industry, and natural resource management—deliberated about strategy scenarios that might scale up grassland bird conservation efforts to achieve landscape level outcomes. After lightening talks focused on select theoretical and practitioner themes, the group discussed insights and how they might contribute toward the design of synergistic solution scenarios. As a summary project, the group refined and juxtaposed alternative future change strategies—multi-approach pathways with the greatest likelihood of sustaining prairies, grassland bird populations, and the aggregated resources and services grasslands provide. We present the proposed strategies and reflect on the merits of the strategies and deliberation experience designed to produce them.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
Governors