New Mexico Project
Decision support for sustainable raptor take limits in a changing climate
March 2023 - March 2026
- South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center
Climate change already affects raptor populations, through impacts on migration biology and vital rates. However, the decision framework in use by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) to estimate population trends and set allowable take limits from anthropogenic activities is static with respect to climate. Given that climate change is already impacting raptors, assumptions of stationarity for vital rates are increasingly unrealistic and cast doubt on predictions of flyway-scale allowable take derived from existing frameworks. We are developing a new decision support tool that explicitly includes climate variables as inputs to population dynamic models to allow the Service to set allowable take limits that are more biologically realistic over the timeframe of interest. In addition to benefiting the Service, establishing take limits based on a more comprehensive set of climatic conditions will guide other stakeholders (e.g., state natural resource agencies and tribal leadership) in making more informed decisions regarding allowable take and mitigation measures to offset anthropogenic take within their jurisdictions. To ensure transferability of decision tools, we have invited representatives from relevant stakeholder groups to participate in framing the decision problem, parameterizing models, and evaluating alternative management strategies.