The Effect of Landscape Change on Breeding Birds in Rapidly Urbanizing Landscapes

EPA Grant Number: U915801
Title: The Effect of Landscape Change on Breeding Birds in Rapidly Urbanizing Landscapes
Investigators: Lepczyk, Christopher A.
Institution: Michigan State University
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: September 1, 2000 through August 1, 2003
Project Amount: $81,375
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology and Ecosystems


The objectives of my research are to understand: 1) how historical land cover and land use changes are correlated with breeding bird abundances, compositions, and spatial distributions over time, and 2) how current human attitudes and behaviors along breeding bird routes influence landscape and bird communities in the present and how they may do so in the short term future.


The landscape change analysis will be carried out using land cover data from 1978 and 1992 for all of Hot Continental Ecoregion of Michigan, in which 30 active BBS routes occur. A database of bird natural and life history characteristics is being developed that will be used to select different sized landscapes around each BBS route for analysis. In addition, the database will be used to investigate how different natural and life history characteristics interact with land cover and changes in landscape patterning. To address the sociological dimensions of the project a mail survey was administered between October and December, 2000 to all private landowners (n = 1694) along three BBS routes in southern Michigan. The survey was designed to ascertain landowners' attitudes and behaviors in regards to land use and breeding birds. Survey questions sought to identify the specific actions that landowners carry out on their land that could positively and negatively influence breeding birds. In addition, the survey asked how landowners utilized their land as well as what they planned to do with their land in 5 and 10 years. Upon completion of the survey and landscape change analyses the data will combined to model potential future scenarios for breeding birds in Southern Michigan.

Supplemental Keywords:

North American Breeding Bird Survey, BBS, landscape change, human dimensions of wildlife, landscape ecology, wildlife ecology, fragmentation, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, avian ecology, total design method, geographic information systems, GIS., Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Habitat, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, habitat use, land use effects, avian habitat quality, anthropogenic stressors, avian community dynamics, ecological consequences, habitat fragmentation, conservation biology

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2001
  • 2002
  • Final