Umbrella Species

If the diverse needs of these species are being met through conservation and restoration then the broader suite of fauna and flora in these regions benefit.  Another component of our work examines the “working lands” aspect of these landscapes, and seeks to find land-use practices (primarily agricultural) that are sustainable in the context of the system, species, and those using it.  Thus, using rigorous field studies (e.g., GPS-PTT tracking technology) we measure changes in space use, resource selection, and demographic rates of birds to assess the effectiveness of various conservation actions to restore ecosystem function. 

Working Lands & Co-produced science

The foundation of our research is one of co-produced science that has led directly to actionable knowledge and coupling wildlife resources with human dimensions in working landscapes. Our research has always been practical and strives to be proactive in tackling imminent natural resource issues, including the effects wildfire and invasive grasses, juniper encroachment and its removal on space use and demography of wildlife in upland systems.

One example of co-produced science has been my work with Bureau of Land Management and the Natural Resource Conservation Service regarding native tree (i.e., juniper and mesquite) invasions and their impacts on grassland-shrubland obligate wildlife and ecosystem services. We have identified ecological thresholds to improve targeting conservation actions, and have quantified measurable biological outcomes from the removal of these trees at both local and regional scales. These biological outcomes have been coupled with the social and economic benefits, creating greater certainty and long-term sustainability to rural economies and the rangelands upon which they depend. Additionally, federal agencies now use these biological thresholds to target funding and watershed scale actions

Juniper trees have been removed to help control tree growing in sagebrush area to help sagebrush recover near Adel, Oregon
Creating Understanding

As scientists, we often tend to fall short on conveying the story of our research outside of the peer-reviewed world.  One of the greatest learning experiences for us has been developing effective outreach and education products. Converting the peer-reviewed literature to a medium that practitioners and the public can readily access is paramount to making actionable-science. Our lab has designed multi-media resources (e.g., videos, print, Instagram, etc.,) and workshops with the goal to improve general education and implementation of our applied science. 

In Summary

In our view, we need science to help guide future restoration efforts to the places that are likely to have the largest ecological impact. It is our goal and hope to identify those areas of highest restoration priority so that we can give these rare and amazing species the chance they deserve.

Behind it

Christian Hagen has been involved in wildlife conservation science for 27 years. He has developed and implemented field based research aimed at disentangling critical conservation issues of our time.