Habitat-relationships reveal potential negative effects of conifer removal on a non-target species

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Our results indicate pinyon jay populations are declining within Bird Conservation Region 16. Jay density was positively associated with sagebrush cover, Palmer Drought Severity Index, and pinyon-juniper cover. Conversely, jay populations were negatively associated with Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). We found higher pinyon jay densities within locations possessing both sagebrush and pinyon-juniper cover; conditions characteristic of phase I and II conifer encroachment which are preferentially targeted for conifer removal to restore sagebrush communities. Conifer removal, if conducted at locations with high pinyon jay densities, is therefore likely to negatively affect jay abundance.

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