At our Spring Management Board meeting, natural resource managers throughout the Appalachians approved the major priorities and focus of the Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture work in the coming three years. Lengthy discussions, expert knowledge, and insight helped shape each of these major priorities, which staff and partners will implement to better accomplish collective conservation actions to ensure the long-term sustainability of native bird populations that breed in the Appalachian Mountains.
The six priorities that the AMJV partnership will focus on in the near future include:
- Development of a JV-wide desired landscape condition decision support tool. This GIS-based and interactive tool would incorporate a variety of data to help set appropriate habitat objectives and facilitate strategic habitat delivery while showing how a future landscape will look given different parameters
- Improving structure, coordination, and communication within the Technical Committee to foster greater collaboration and increase information sharing across the landscape
- Continue habitat conservation and delivery in priority areas such as:
- Mature forest habitat for a number of mature forest obligates, such as Cerulean Warbler, Wood Thrush, Canada Warbler, and Worm-eating Warbler
- Young forest/early successional habitat for Golden-winged Warblers, American Woodcock, and other early successional habitat obligates
- High elevation forests
- Enhancing habitat conservation and delivery in each of these priority areas through the development of an Appalachian Forest Birds Communications Strategy. The strategy will outline communication priorities and products for advancing and promoting the need for and benefits of achieving a dynamic forest landscape in the Appalachians through active forest management
- Increase investment and involvement in wintering ground and migratory stopover conservation for priority species by collaborating in species-specific international working groups, PIF Conservation Business Plans (CBP), and advancing our knowledge of connectivity patterns to support the recovery of declining bird populations
- Strengthening organizational performance with staff and partners taking an active role in enhancing existing relationships, fostering new relationships, and promoting AMJV priorities at local, regional, and national levels
- Continue developing effective communication, education, and outreach products and strategies to engage partners, raise awareness, and change behaviors among JV priority audiences to support bird habitat conservation.
In addition to approving the priorities within the Operational Plan, several other key items were discussed and moved forward. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds based in Ithaca, New York, was unanimously approved as a Board Member. The AMJV is supporting the creation of a national social science coordinator position that was recommended at the January National Bird Partnership Network workshop to incorporate greater social science into the work of Joint Ventures. Finally, JV staff will be developing a running list of potential private landowners – suggested by partners – who might be interested in participating in Joint Venture Hill visits next year.