Environmental Management

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 28–37 | Cite as

Maximizing Benefits from Riparian Revegetation Efforts: Local- and Landscape-Level Determinants of Avian Response

  • Thomas Gardali
  • Aaron L. Holmes


With limited financial resources available for habitat restoration, information that ensures and/or accelerates success is needed to economize effort and maximize benefit. In the Central Valley of California USA, riparian habitat has been lost or degraded, contributing to the decline of riparian-associated birds and other wildlife. Active restoration of riparian plant communities in this region has been demonstrated to increase local population sizes and species diversity of landbirds. To evaluate factors related to variation in the rate at which bird abundance increased after restoration, we examined bird abundance as a function of local (restoration design elements) and landscape (proportion of riparian vegetation in the landscape and riparian patch density) metrics at 17 restoration projects within five project areas along the Sacramento River. We developed a priori model sets for seven species of birds and used an information theoretic approach to identify factors associated with the rate at which bird abundance increased after restoration. For six of seven species investigated, the model with the most support contained a variable for the amount of riparian forest in the surrounding landscape. Three of seven bird species were positively correlated with the number of tree species planted and three of seven were positively correlated with the planting densities of particular tree species. Our results indicate that restoration success can be enhanced by selecting sites near existing riparian habitat and planting multiple tree species. Hence, given limited resources, efforts to restore riparian habitat for birds should focus on landscape-scale site selection in areas with high proportions of existing riparian vegetation.


Birds California Landscape-scale Local-scale Restoration Riparian Sacramento River 



This study was supported by funding from the Bella Vista Foundation, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, CALFED, Bureau of Reclamation, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and River Partners. Logistical support was also provided by many of these organizations especially The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We thank the many field biologists that participated in data collection, especially Matt Noel, Anne King, Michelle Hammond, Sherry Hudson, Stacy Small, Jim DeStaebler, Peter Pintz, Joanne Gilchrist, and Michael Rogner. John Wiens, Michael Craig, Nat Seavy, Doug Robinson, and Michael Rogner provided valuable discussion and comments on an early version of the manuscript. We appreciate the time and attention three anonymous reviewers brought to this manuscript. This is PRBO contribution number 1779.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Terrestrial Ecology DivisionPRBO Conservation SciencePetalumaUSA

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