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State of the Birds 2013

The fourth State of the Birds report highlights the enormous contributions private landowners make to bird and habitat conservation, and state-of-the-birds-report-coveropportunities for increased contributions. Roughly 60% of the land area in the United States (1.43 billion acres) is privately owned by millions of individuals, families, organizations, and corporations, including 2 million ranchers and farmers and about 10 million woodland owners. More than 100 species have 50% or more of their U.S. breeding distributions on private lands.

Birds are important indicators of the health of our environment. To assess bird populations and conservation opportunities on private lands across the nation, the State of the Birds report combined the latest eBird distribution data with land ownership data from the Protected Areas Database of the U.S. As in past reports, the report focused on species dependent on a single primary habitat, or habitat obligates.

The results emphasize the high dependence on private lands among grassland, wetland, and eastern forest birds, with important conservation opportunities existing in all habitats. Many conservation programs available to private landowners offer win-win opportunities to implement land management practices that benefit birds and landowners. The success stories highlighted in the report demonstrate that voluntary private landowner efforts can yield real and meaningful bird conservation results.

Working cooperatively with private landowners is a central theme of ISC-Audubon. That is why ISC-Audubon has created the John James Audubon Conservation Network and the Audubon Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary Program for landowners. ISC-Audubon is looking to greatly expand its network of certified bird sanctuaries over the next year.

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

New Species of Frogs Disappearing as Fast as They

New species of frogs in Panama are being lost nearly as fast as they are being found to a deadly fungal disease that is sweeping through the region.

In an effort to document the diversity of frogs in Central America before the disease sweeps through the entire region, scientists are discovering new species, some of which are going extinct, and some of which are surviving.

In Panama’s Omar Torrijos National Park, 11 new species of frogs were discovered in the course of the long-term survey. After the fungus epidemic in 2004, five of these species went locally extinct, but only one of them is thought to have no other known habitats.Panama Frogs

“In amphibians, the amount of new species described every year keeps going up. We can’t even guess where it is going to stop,” said evolutionary geneticist Andrew Crawford from the University of the Andes, lead author of the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published on July 19. “But at the same time, we keep losing them. One third of amphibian species around the world are listed on the IUCN Red List.”

Biologist Karen Lips, a co-author of the study, set up long-term frog monitoring in Omar Torrijos National Park in 1998, when she realized that the deadly fungus first noted in Costa Rica was spreading rapidly towards the region.

“She walked the same transects year after year, and one day in October 2004 she started finding dead frogs instead of live ones,” Crawford said. “The strangest thing was that frogs that were previously rare, like subterranean frogs, became more abundant. They started coming out of the woodwork, so to speak, and then they died.”

In the course of the long-term study, Lips and Crawford identified a total of 74 species in the region.

Within a couple of months of the fungus arriving, Crawford said, 30 of the species disappeared from the region, including five that were newly discovered. A survey in 2008 confirmed their absence.

The killer fungus, Batrochochytrium dendrobatidis, was first noted when the golden toad and about half of the frog species disappeared in Monteverde reserve in Costa Rica in 1987.

Since then, it has been spreading eastward through the Central America highlands, and also through a large portion of the Andes, likely from a separate introduction.

The fungus dislikes too much heat or dryness, which makes frogs that live in streams in mountainous areas most vulnerable.

While the exact origin and cause of the spread of the disease is unknown, Crawford guesses that the disease travels with the amphibians that get moved around for pets and research. He said that this particular fungus either originated in Africa or North America.

Only one of the species that went extinct in Omar Torrijos National Park has no other known habitat, meaning that it is likely extinct worldwide. The other 29 species have known ranges in eastern Panama, which hasn’t yet been hit by the fungus.

Researchers are searching for ways to avert the loss of more species. The most promising of these is a bacteria that has been found in salamanders in North America that protects their eggs from the fungus.

The bacteria has been isolated and tested on frogs in the Sierra Nevada, and appeared to improve their survival rates from the fungus, said Crawford. However, there are still many questions to be answered about the ethics and efficacy of introducing the bacteria to frogs in Central and South America.

To read the original article visit: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/07/gallery-panama-frogs/


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References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.org

The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org 

The Reserve at Lake Keowee
www.reserveatlakekeowee.com/

Sustainability Campaign
sustainabilitycampaign.blogspot.com

EnergyStar
www.energystar.gov/

The Royal Society of Biological Sciences
www.royalsocietypublishing.org

National Geographic
www.nationalgeographic.com

Double Oaks
www.doubleoakscharlotte.com

Global Stewards
www.globalstewards.org

United States Department of Energy
www.energy.gov

American Society of Golf Course Architects
www.asgca.org

The United States Golf Association (USGA)
www.usga.org

     

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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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