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Monday, February 6 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Symposia Session - S2: Midwestern Agroecology and the Conservation of Grassland Birds. Grassland Bird Conservation and Working Lands: Creating Movement Along Multiple Pathways

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AUTHORS: Tom Will, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Kristen Nelson, University of Minnesota

ABSTRACT: Despite concentrated efforts directed toward grassland bird conservation over several decades, most grassland bird species in the Midwest continue on a precipitous trajectory of decline—along with the grasslands that support these birds and the many other environmental benefits that diverse grassland systems provide. We have seen many great successes at local scales, but unfortunately these have not been replicated at scales large enough to influence regional or range-wide bird populations. Broad-scale policy impacts (CRP in particular) have been credited with reversing declines of Henslow's Sparrow, but again unfortunately, Farm Bill policy has proven all too vulnerable to political and economic shifts. Most of the current and potential grassland acreage in the Midwest is in private ownership, so it is clear that landscape change leading to population-level effects must embrace and involve working lands. In a conservation deliberation convened at the University of Minnesota in fall 2015, a multi-disciplinary group of graduate students tapped expert opinion from diverse academic and professional directions and then drafted a change strategy for the future of Midwest grasslands that called for simultaneous movement along multiple and thematically different pathways. Some of those pathways, and the subsequent conversations that they evoked, challenge conventional conservation practice. They call for the reawakening of historic wisdom (agroecology) and proven tools (attentiveness and art) and in many cases for the recruitment and mobilization of both dormant and growing social movements that demand social equity, environmental justice, community engagement, and—not surprisingly—healthy and environmentally sustainable food.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm CST
Arbor I/II