Evaluating habitat quality for riparian landbirds using the Habitat Quantification Tool

3:20 - 4:20

Habitat conservation and restoration is a developing field, with best practices and tools being constantly updated and revisited. Creating tools that accurately guide restoration practitioners is an important way to disseminate this knowledge and experience widely. Additionally, the quantification of habitat benefits has been difficult due to the complicated relationships between habitat features and seen habitat quality. There are few tools that build upon the wealth of ecological knowledge to accurately and transparently compare habitat across a region. The Riparian Landbird Habitat Quantification Tool (RLB HQT) was created to fill this need. It was created by a team of sciences under the Central Valley Habitat Exchange (CVHE), and compiles habitat attributes from four main categories: landscape, vegetation, management, and hydrology. The tool can assess up to 100 acres in one day and outputs comparable site statistics including a functional habitat score of 0-100%. The relationships between these attributes and their relative contributions were determined through literature review or expert consensus. This tool has been tested in the field and adapted to other regions of California, and provides valuable data to habitat project developers in determining priority restoration areas and management actions that are most beneficial to target bird species.