Optimizing targeting of pinyon-juniper management for sagebrush birds of conservation concern while avoiding imperiled pinyon jay

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We find that the inclusion of sagebrush-obligates expands the model-selected area of consideration for conifer management, likely because habitat overlap between sagebrush-obligates is imperfect. The inclusion of pinyon jay, a woodland-obligate, resulted in substantial shifts in the distribution of model-selected priority areas for conifer removal, particularly away from pinyon jay strongholds in Nevada and east-central California. Finally, we compared the conifer optimizations created here with estimates of ongoing conifer removal efforts across the intermountain west and find that a small proportion (13−18%) of management efforts had occurred on areas predicted as being important for pinyon jay, suggesting that much of the ongoing work is already successfully avoiding critical pinyon jay habitat areas.

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