Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Conservation in the Adirondacks

While we are on the subject of birds in New York, I would like to highlight a story from the Adirondacks. Yesterday, the Nature Conservancy announced a purchase of 161,000 acres from a private timber company. The land is spread over several tracts, pictured in the map at right, most of which lie within the larger boundaries of the six-million-acre Adirondack Park.

In the near term, the Nature Conservancy will provide access to provide access to private groups that have used the land in the past. For the next 20 years, it will allow selective timber cutting to a local paper mill. It will also renew the permits of local hunting and outdoors clubs. The tracts have not been open for public use, though that may be considered in the future.

The significance of the purchase is that it prevents valuable habitat from being destroyed through development, clear-cutting, or other uses. The Adirondacks are at the southern edge of the breeding range for boreal species, many of which are under pressure. According to a Nature Conservancy fact sheet on the property:

Biological inventories conducted by TNC in 2001 revealed 95 significant species, 37 of which are rare in New York, about 20 uncommon in the state, and 30 rare or uncommon in the Adirondacks. Also recorded were a rich variety of birds: 91 species, 12 of which are boreal specialists. Of the many vascular plants on the property, the Steller’s cliffbrake, a small limestone fern, is one of the rarest.
Unfortunately, the fact sheet does not provide a list of the birds and other species found on the property. Some of the birds that can be found within the larger boundaries of the Adirondacks include black-backed woodpecker, gray jay, the rare Bicknell's thrush, and the declining rusty blackbird.

For more on birds in the Adirondacks, see:
See also the Nature Conservancy's website for more information on the purchase.