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Bird Survey Suggests If You Plant It, They Will Come

The results of last month's annual Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge Bird Survey indicate that birds may colonize reforested areas much faster than experts had predicted. This year's surveyors spotted all five of the common native forest birds and four endangered forest birds within sections of the refuge that two short decades ago had been treeless areas dominated by non-native plants and animals. "I never thought I'd live to see this," said Jack Jeffrey, who coordinated this bird survey and was the refuge biologist from 1990-2008. Hawaii's Hakalau (Hawaiian for "place of many perches") Forest Refuge was explicitly created in 1985 to preserve native forest birds and their habitat. Today the Hakalau NWR comprises almost 33,000 acres between 2,500 and 6,600 feet. By the time the refuge was established, however, more than 200 years' worth of damage from cattle, feral pigs, logging, fires, and noxious weeds had converted much of what had been a magnificent high elevation native rain forest into a vast ecological wasteland. Read the rest of Robert J. Cabin's post at Huffington Post Green. _____________ Robert J. Cabin is an associate professor of ecology and environmental science at Brevard College. Before returning to academia, he worked as a restoration ecologist for the U.S. Forest Service and the National Tropical Botanical Garden. His new book Intelligent Tinkering: Bridging the Gap between Science and Practice will be published in August 2011 by Island Press.