Yosemite National Park encompasses a vast tract of scenic wildland set aside in 1890 to preserve one of the most spectacular portions of the Sierra Nevada. Granite domes and spectacular cliffs and waterfalls are among the scenic wonders that complement the rugged High Sierra wilderness. Over 1,300 plant species, from the tiniest monkey-flower to the towering giant sequoia, mantle the low to mid elevations, providing habitat to hundreds of vertebrate species. Ironically, as old and well known as Yosemite National Park is, efforts to systematically inventory its resources have been scant until recently. In particular, quantitative data on the abundance and distribution of the park's avifauna have never been systematically collected.
The National Park Service contracted The Institute for Bird Populations to conduct a systematic, park-wide inventory of Yosemite's birds, to provide provide park managers with comprehensive, scientifically-based information about the nature and status of the park avifauna, and to produce baseline data necessary for the development of long-term monitoring programs and effective conservation strategies.
Betweem 1999 and 2000 we conducted 2,646 point counts across the length and breadth of the park.
Our point count data, coupled with the park's GIS habitat coverage, allowed us to map the parkwide distribution and relative abundance of most of the park's bird species.
Example of our species parkwide distribution and relative abundance maps.
At each point count site we also produced detailed descriptions of habitat composition and structure. These descriptions define the major habitat type at each location, and also facilitate the identification of within-habitat correlates of avian diversity and abundance. Identifying these critical habitat characteristics within the various major habitat types will be of value to land managers throughout the Sierra.
Click here to see pictures of our Yosemite Inventory crew at work.
For more information, contact Rodney Siegel.