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The Appalachians in fall, from Dragon Tooth Overlook in Catawba, VA; Todd Fearer

The Appalachians are one of the most biologically diverse areas in North America. Millions of years of geologic evolution has resulted in tall mountains with long ridgelines, steep slopes, deep ravines, wide valleys, and endless combinations of landform, elevation, and soils that support an abundance of plant and animal species. The highest diversity of salamanders in the world are found here as well as productive forests and robust assemblages of bird species that use the region to breed, winter, and migrate through.

Though vast and diverse, the region is currently facing numerous conservation challenges that are leading to species population declines and driving certain plants and animals towards extinction. For many species in the Appalachian Mountains, action must be taken soon to ensure their survival and recovery for future generations. 

Joint ventures are responsible for determining how much habitat will be needed to reach established population goals for priority bird species and where to focus habitat restoration, management, and protection efforts. The AMJV uses the best available scientific information to establish measurable conservation objectives, implement on-the-ground projects, and conduct monitoring and research activites that will help track our progress and improve our effectiveness.  

We establish objectives through our conservation planning work. This process helps to identify priority species, assess their population status, and uncover factors leading to decline. Using information gathered during the planning stage, we then develop tools and specific actions that effectively guide management decisions. This can involve modeling population-habitat relationships to identify how much habitat is required to sustain populations, locating where conservation actions can be implemented with the greatest probability of success, and through feedback and evaluation, determine whether priority populations are responding to conservation efforts.  

The AMJV is working closely with its partners and establishing geographic and habitat-based groups that collectively contribute to our conservation planning and actions to create a more sustainable landscape for birds in the Appalachian region.