Maine Public Features 30-year “Shifting Mosaic” Bird Study on Maine’s Forest

Dr. John Hagan of Our Climate Common along with fellow researchers and field crews were recently featured in Maine Public story focused on their long-term study on changes in forest practices and bird populations in Maine’s commercial forests. Funded in 2021 in part by CRSF’s Cooperative Forestry Research Unit, this study is a replicate of one preformed in 1992/1993 where extensive surveys of birds across a one-million-acre section of Maine’s commercial forest in the Moosehead Lake region of north-central Maine was carried out. This study led to the conceptual framework for managing for biodiversity called “The Shifting Mosaic”.

Since 1970, North American bird populations have declined by an estimated three billion birds (30%). From the 1992 study carried out by Hagan and his team, we know that Maine’s commercial forests remains one of the most intact and important bird habitats in North America. The objectives in the 2021-2024 replicate study aims to:

  • quantify changes in density and abundance of landbird populations in a one-million-acre section of Maine’s commercial forest
  • compare habitat availability today to the same area 30 years ago
  • compare and contrast bird abundance and diversity to national bird population trends
  • as warranted by changes in population and diversity, identify silvicultural strategies to assist in landbird conservation goals
  • disseminate findings to researchers across the Acadian region
  • create new opportunities for the birding public to experience the conservation benefits of Maine’s commercial forests

The Cooperative Forestry Research Unit (CFRU) connects Maine’s forestry community with the University of Maine. CFRU scientists conduct applied research that provides Maine’s forest landowners, forestry community, and policymakers with the information needed to ensure both sustainable forestry practices and science-based forest policy. To learn more about the CFRU, click here.