Preservation of large blocks of suitable habitat is an important conservation strategy for many species, and such protected areas often are publicly owned. In some cases, however, the extent of private land far exceeds that of public land, or species may prefer habitats that are predominantly privately owned (e.g., agricultural). Thus, it is important to understand the stewardship roles of both public and private land for species conservation. We used hierarchical multispecies occupancy models to evaluate the occurrence probabilities of 59 passerine bird species, including Species of Greatest Conservation Need, on public and private land in Pennsylvania, USA. Species strongly associated with forests disproportionately occupied public land, whereas grassland-associated species were strongly associated with private lands. Species associated with early-successional or shrub/edge habitat had more mixed responses. Our results emphasize that, despite the obvious importance of public land for some species, addressing habitat conservation on private lands is crucial for effective conservation of most passerine species, even in a region with extensive public land and for species strongly associated with public land.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation