State of the Birds: Successes of Protecting Bird Habitat on Private Lands
U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released of the 2013 State of the Birds Report on Private Lands that shows how private land conservation incentives positively impact bird habitat.
“Our nation’s most effective conservation efforts are partnerships in which federal, state, and local governments work hand-in-hand with private landowners and other stakeholders,” said Secretary Jewell. “The programs highlighted in this report help build these voluntary partnerships to conserve the vital habitat of our many bird species. Many of these partnerships provide direct benefits to people such as improving water quality and supporting jobs and economic growth.”
Individuals, families, organizations, and corporations, including two million ranchers and farmers and about 10 million woodland owners, own and manage 1.43 billion acres, roughly 60 percent of the land area of the United States. Private lands are used by virtually all of the terrestrial and coastal birds of the United States, 251 of which are federally threatened, endangered, or of conservation concern. Many privately owned working lands that produce a bounty of food, timber, and other resources for society also provide valuable habitat for birds.
“Sixty percent of U.S. land is in private hands, making the efforts of farmers, ranchers, and landowners critical when it comes to creating, restoring, and protecting bird habitat,” Secretary Vilsack said. “Today’s report highlights the positive impact of voluntary conservation measures for birds, including those made possible by Farm Bill programs. The need for a long-term commitment to conservation is just one more good reason why we need Congressional passage of a multi-year Food, Farm, and Jobs Bill as soon as possible.”