Putting Data to Work Through Land Trusts
Through the Motus collaboration, we can achieve a true landscape-scale approach to conservation, connecting enormous expanses of land through scientific research, for the benefit of both humans and wildlife.
Land conservation is vital to the survival of many species, but the connections between protected tracts of land are equally important—and often overlooked. For migratory species of birds, bats and insects, however, having interlocking corridors of preserved habitat between their breeding grounds and wintering areas is crucial—and Motus, for the first time, will allow us to discover the routes that link such conserved lands.
The information that an expanded, regional Motus network would provide about a host of migratory species—as they move through riparian corridors, mountain ranges, forests, grasslands, and (often overlooked) shrub/scrub areas—will guide future land management decisions, especially on public and private lands held under conservation easements by local land trusts. Motus data will allow us to better understand how human land use influences migration and dispersal. It will also allow us to make decisions about where best to target land conservation efforts to safeguard the most important habitats for migratory stopover sites for many species.
Land trusts exist in every state, but occur most densely in the northeastern United States—the same area covered by this proposed Motus expansion, where there are more than 125 active organizations. With access to enormous expanses of privately held property, land trusts are in a unique position to translate the data provided by Motus into on-the-ground conservation action, ensuring that conservation efforts are as strategically directed and permanent as possible.