Language: English with bilingual preface, summary and conservation plan in English and Spanish
From the summary:
"The Cerulean Warbler is one of the most threatened migratory birds in America. A great part of the ecological knowledge we have of its annual cycle is from late April to July, when the birds establish territories, mate and raise young on their breeding grounds. Some studies have been done in the nonbreeding grounds about its geographical distribution, survival, and ecology. The Cerulean Warbler has one of the longest migrations of the warblers that breed in eastern North America and therefore may be particularly vulnerable to changes at sites used during migration. On the nonbreeding grounds, the species inhabits one of the most threatened ecosystems of the world, the Andean montane forest of northern South America. Fortunately, however, Cerulean Warblers also commonly use shade-grown coffee plantations.
Increased interest exists internationally to protect this species; an effective way to achieve this goal is to enhance the availability and quality of habitat at the regional level. As the Cerulean Warbler's winter distribution overlaps with the distribution of other threatened species, it can be used as an umbrella species in order to protect the ecosystems they share.
The Cerulean Warbler is considered Vulnerable by the IUCN on the basis that it has undergone a very rapid population decline in the last few decades. This long term decline (-3.2% / year) is one of the primary reasons for a high level of concern for this species. The population decline has been attributed to habitat loss and fragmentation across its entire geographical range. The clearing of forests for agriculture and cattle pasture, as well as conversion of traditional shade-grown coffee plantations to sun coffee plantations, are the main threats in the nonbreeding range.
To address and reverse the decline of the Cerulean Warbler, many institutions and individuals through the Cerulean Warbler Technical Group (CWTG) have been working since 2001 to increase our understanding of the warbler's ecology, promote its conservation, and protect those habitats central to its survival. El Grupo Cerúleo, a subcommittee of the CWTG, focuses on the nonbreeding period of the Cerulean Warbler life cycle.
Keeping in mind that habitat loss is one of the most significant threats to Cerulean Warbler survivorship, a hemispheric conservation plan is necessary to provide for the continuance of adequate habitat in the entire geographical range of the Cerulean Warbler. A conservation plan developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS 2007) was used as the basis for this Plan, which addresses the Cerulean Warbler on its nonbreeding range.
We identify key nonbreeding sites for the Cerulean Warbler across the Northern Andes using different models of potential distribution and taking into account protected areas that currently exist. The historical landscape transformation and the coffee landscapes are discussed in order to give background for the Cerulean Warbler Conservation Plan. In addition, we provide a general overview about social and political conditions of the Northern Andes as context for the use of existing environmental laws for the benefit of the Cerulean Warbler.
Planning for the conservation of the Cerulean Warbler is a large task involving NGO partners, national institutions, and governments from each country involved. During 2008, two meetings were held (in Texas and Bogotá) to discuss and develop the conservation plan for the nonbreeding range. The main goals of this plan are to promote a protected areas network using this warbler as an umbrella species and to use diverse economic and ecological tools such as certification and economic incentives to reduce the loss of shade-grown coffee farms and assist with habitat restoration. Because Cerulean Warblers reside in the tropics for seven to eight months a year (i.e., two thirds of the annual cycle), it is critical that Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, the countries they inhabit, work towards guaranteeing the necessary conditions for the species’ survival."
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