"Advances in Avian Monitoring on Department of Defense Installations" by Dr. Richard Fischer
The Department of Defense (DoD) manages 25 million acres of lands for the primary purposes of training troops and testing weapons platforms to ensure military readiness. Many installations have large, relatively undisturbed land parcels that likely act as source populations for many species. DoD lands host a higher number of threatened, endangered, and sensitive (TER-S) avian species per acre than any other federal land management agency, and as such has both regulatory and stewardship responsibilities to manage and monitor many of these species. This presentation outlined the need and justification for monitoring and managing birds on the vast DoD acreages, challenges associated with meeting objectives, and monitoring tools and techniques available to installation managers. The presentation also highlighted the use of autonomous aerial acoustic recording systems (AAARS) for monitoring TER-S and mission-sensitive bird populations on military installations, demonstrate that AAARS collects data on avian vocalizations across a broad range of habitats, and describe the value of these data for military installation’s regulatory and legislative compliance. This knowledge, used in Integrated Natural Resources Management Plans, provides the foundation for reducing regulatory restrictions that can impede military testing and training missions.
"Understanding and Managing Avian Species of Concern on DoD Installations" by Dr. Bradnt Ryder
This project supports SERDP’s effort to manage and sustain healthy populations of forest-breeding neotropical migrant bird species on DoD installations. DoD manages nearly 30 million acres of high-value bird habitat, yet there is limited understanding of when, where and how populations of migratory birds are affected by military training activities. This research aimed to provide DoD with two vital pieces of information needed to manage avian species of concern. First, the ability to link demographic vital rates and growth of populations to both local habitat quality and landscape configuration is essential for effective management practices. Second, cost-effective management of avian populations requires comparative information about the efficacy of different avian monitoring protocols and the spatial scale at which methodologies characterize population dynamics. Here, we provided a full annual cycle perspective on spatial and temporal drivers of interior forest bird populations with a particular focus on the Wood thrush. We also provided managers with information about the utility of different methodological approaches appropriate for monitoring avian species of concern on DoD installations.
Dr. Richard Fischer is a senior research wildlife biologist in the Ecological Resources Branch, Environmental Laboratory, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). Dr. Fischer’s expertise and current research focus areas include monitoring and management of migratory birds on military and civil works lands, and threatened and endangered species recovery. He has served as President of the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association and currently is the Environmental Laboratory Wildlife Team Leader, Program Coordinator for the DoD Bird Conservation Program, and Lead for the ERDC Threatened and Endangered Species Team. He has authored or co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed, conference and in-house papers; presented more than 70 papers at national and international conferences; and trained over 2,000 Federal and non-Federal natural resource managers as lead instructor in over 50 national and international training courses. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia, a master's degree in wildlife science from Auburn University, and a doctoral degree in forestry, wildlife and range sciences from the University of Idaho, Moscow.
Dr. Brandt Ryder is a research ecologist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in Washington, DC. Dr. Ryder’s research focuses on the population and behavioral ecology of migratory birds. His research program combines the collection of field avian demographic data with full-annual cycle modeling approaches to understand when and where bird populations are limited. Brandt served as a co-principal investigator on a SERDP grant that aimed to understand the drivers of source-sink dynamics in Wood thrush and other interior forest species of birds. This research was aimed at informing key management decisions to sustain healthy avian populations on DoD installations. Brandt has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed papers in a number of high-impact journals including Ecological Applications, Conservation Biology, Journal of Applied Ecology, and Ecology. He earned his bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from Unity College and a doctoral degree in biology from University of Missouri.