- Publicover, David
Appalachian Mountain Club
High-elevation habitats are a limited yet critical component of the Northern Forest landscape.
They provide the primary habitat for Bicknell’s thrush, the northeast’s rarest migratory songbird, as well as other species of conservation concern. They are also likely to provide refugia for spruce-fir-dependent species in a future warmer climate. These areas have been a target for wind power development, but inappropriately sited wind power projects threaten to degrade this critical habitat. Evaluation, prioritization and conservation of the most important areas is an objective of many state and regional wildlife conservation plans.
This project is assessing the extent, conservation status, current condition (development and harvest history) and relative ecological value of high-elevation areas (>2700’) across New York and New England to guide future conservation of these areas and reduce conflicts over wind power siting. Information on ecological value includes elevation range, extent of spruce-fir forest, presence of rare plants and natural communities (particularly subalpine fir- heartleaved birch forest), documented presence of Bicknell’s thrush and extent of potential Bicknell’s thrush habitat, inclusion in large roadless areas, and identification as priority areas in state wildlife action plans and other regional conservation assessments.