Management Actions for Island Scrub-Jay
CBI’s senior conservation scientist, Jerre Ann Stallcup, is part of a collaborative research program whose work on using proactive conservation management of the island scrub-jay (Aphelocoma insularis) is featured on the cover of the most recent issue of Bioscience (December, 2011).
Biodiversity conservation in an era of global change and scarce funding benefits from approaches that simultaneously solve multiple problems. Here, we discuss conservation management of the island scrub-jay (Aphelocoma insularis), the only island-endemic passerine species in the continental United States, which is currently restricted to 250-square-kilometer Santa Cruz Island, California. Although the species is not listed as threatened by state or federal agencies, its viability is nonetheless threatened on multiple fronts. We discuss management actions that could reduce extinction risk, including vaccination, captive propagation, biosecurity measures, and establishing a second free-living population on a neighboring island. Establishing a second population on Santa Rosa Island may have the added benefit of accelerating the restoration and enhancing the resilience of that island’s currently highly degraded ecosystem. The proactive management framework for island scrub-jays presented here illustrates how strategies for species protection, ecosystem restoration, and adaptation to and mitigation of climate change can converge into an integrated solution.