NEXT WABC EVENT: Conservation Management of the St. Francis Satyr
Presenter: John W. Wilson, doctoral candidate at North Carolina State University
Time and location: 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 12, Audubon Naturalist Society Teale Education Center (not the main building!) in Chevy Chase, MD. (directions at http://www.audubonnaturalist.org/default.asp?page=514#directions)
Doors Open at 9:30 a.m.
The St. Francis Satyr (SFS) is an endangered butterfly globally restricted to United States Department of Defense lands at Ft. Bragg NC. They live in semi-permanent, early-successional wetlands maintained by disturbances such as beaver activity and fire. Both beaver populations and fire have been suppressed over the last century, drastically reducing the amount of suitable habitat and subsequently also SFS populations. Beaver populations and fire action have recently been restored on Ft Bragg; yet, SFS remain rare while known St. Francis Satyr populations continue to decline as once-suitable habitat transitions toward late-successional stages. To aid in the recovery of SFS, we use remotely sensed data and species distribution models to identify suitable but unoccupied habitat patches on Ft Bragg. By considering the spatial configuration of these suitable patches, we analyze connectivity among patches to prioritize reintroduction sites. Our top priority reintroduction site is the unoccupied habitat patch connected to the most other habitat patches. Reintroductions at highly connected reintroduction sites should enable populations to better disperse to nearby unoccupied habitat as population sizes increase. Over the long term, highly connected SFS populations should be better equipped to adapt their ranges to changing environments.