Northern Spotted Owl Case Study

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As the US Fish and wildlife Service Manager my responsibility is two fold: conserve and recover species listed as threatened and endangered and… In 1990 the Northern Spotted Owl was listed as a threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Since then the rate of loss of habitat has declined. Even so valuable old growth forest is lost to the spotted owls. Previously the decline of the spotted owl population has been attributed to timber harvesting. However, recently the expansion of the Barred owl, an owl of the same genus as the Northern Spotted owl, from east to west is causing the continuation in population decline. This is due to the fact that they share similar habitat and diet. However, a notable difference is that Northern spotted owls …show more content…
Due to the variance in the forest types used by the northern spotted owl for nesting, roosting, foraging, and dispersal it is best for forest managers to implement site dependent plans that follow the recommendations of the Northwest Forest Plan (NWP) and its revised recovery plans. Forest management approaches may include adaptive management, the systematic testing of different management approaches to improve methods over time and ecosystem-based management, the attempt to manage the harvesting of resources in ways that minimize the impact on the ecosystems and ecological processes that provide the resources. Adaptive management will not be implemented in forests that are high functioning and already suitable to the Northern Spotted owl, rather in disrupted forest areas. Disrupted forests can result in slowed natural ecological processes and While approaches may vary across sites, the objectives remain the …show more content…
A study by Hamer et al. found that the diet of the Barred owl is more varied than the Spotted owl’s. Data collected on the composition of each owl’s diet suggests that though they both primarily hunt in forests, Barred Owls are likely to hunt in surrounding meadows and riparian areas. Although there is significant overlap in their diets and habitat, it is possible for the two owls to co-exist. The key lies in riparian zones, areas along streams and rivers. With limited old growth forests left, riparian zones may be an alternative habitat suited for Spotted and Barred owls. Riparian zones provide high quality dispersal habitat that protect from predators and harsh weather and offer places for nesting and roosting. With an increase in suitable habitat, there will be less competition and interaction between Barred and Spotted Owls; increasing the chance that they can co-exist (Cady. 2016, p. 4-11). Therefore conserving riparian areas is a priority in our management

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