The Cache River Joint Venture Partnership (JVP; ILDNR, USFWS, and TNC) formed in 1991 in an effort to conserve and restore some 60,000 acres of bottomland forest habitat in the Cache River watershed of southern Illinois. During the past 18 years, the JVP has successfully acquired and re-forested over 20,000 acres of non-forested land. With the backing of the JVP, scientists from the Illinois Natural History Survey collected baseline data during 1993-1995 documenting breeding bird densities, breeding bird diversity, and nesting success of various species of bird prior to most of this land-use conversion. These conservation activities should result in increased nesting success and increased densities for many bottomland forest birds. We now have the unique opportunity to document how the restoration of bottomland forests ( acquiring and “reforesting” non-forested land) has affected the diversity, abundance, and nesting success of Neotropical migratory birds breeding within a bottomland forest ecosystem. This grant funded data collection during the first year of what is to be a 3-year project designed to meet several objectives including 1) determine the response of the breeding bird community to bottomland reforestation, 2) document baseline conditions for birds breeding in forested wetlands likely to be affected by the partial reconnection of the upper and lower Cache River, 3) measure the success of the restoration efforts of conservation partners (ILDNR, TNC, and USFWS), and 4) provide results that are directly applicable to conservation plans and restoration efforts in other bottomland forest ecosystems.This research represents the merging of scientific research with conservation in action and continues the partnership between INHS and the members of the Cache River JVP. The research proposed here will expand our knowledge and increase our ability to effectively and efficiently restore and manage bottomland forests. This research will ultimately provide guidelines to promote restoration and management practices that will provide the greatest benefit to Neotropical migratory birds residing in bottomland forest ecosystems, and will factor prominently in land conservation plans and land acquisition priorities. Also, the conservation issues being addressed and the results of this research have broad application and will assist with other bottomland forest restoration efforts in the Midwest and throughout the United States. I include the project justification and objectives for the entire 3-year research endeavor, and provide a summary of what has been accomplished to date, data from the 2010 (Year 1 field season when the money was spent) and some preliminary results from the second year (2011).
|Name||INHS Technical Report 2011 (47)|