Conservation of disturbance-dependent birds in eastern North America
Populations of most bird species associated with grassland, shrub-scrub habitats, and disturbed areas in forested habitats (hereafter all referred to as disturbance-dependent species) have declined steeply. However, a widespread perception exists that disturbance-dependent species are merely returning to population levels likely found by the first European explorers and settlers. The fact that many disturbance-dependent bird species and subspecies are now extinct, globally rare, threatened, or endangered challenges that perception and raises the question of balance between conservation efforts for birds dependent upon disturbances and birds more closely associated with mature forests. An overall understanding of the status and trends for these disturbance-dependent species requires reconstruction of at least thousands of years of Native American land use followed by 500 years of post-European settlement. Interpretations herein on how to manage for these disturbance-dependent species should support efforts to conserve all landbirds in Eastern North America.