SENR Seminar Series - Matt Johnson

Dr. Matt Johnson will present Birds, Pests, and Habitat: Case Studies of Bird-Provided Ecosystem Services from Jamaica, Kenya, and California on Thursday, September 26, 2019 in Kottman Hall 103 at 4:10 p.m.

Dr. Johnson is a professor in the Wildlife Department at Humboldt State University.  His research interests lie in wildlife habitat selection and habitat quality, and he's currently focused on studying how agricultural production and bird conservation can coexist.  He has worked on the habitat ecology of insect-eating birds in coffee farms for many years, and in 2015 he started working with barn owls and winegrape producers in California.  Most recently, his educational work has involved collaborating to launch 'place-based learning communities' for first-year STEM students that have helped advance inclusive student success.

Abstract: Global crop demand is projected to increase by 70 percent by 2050, putting increased stress on the protection of natural habitats and conservation of global biodiversity.  Ecosystem services, such as pest control and pollination, are critical benefits of biodiversity important for agricultural production. Predators, including birds, can provide important pest control in agroecosystems, boosting crop yield and offsetting the need for expensive inputs such as pesticides. Birds are mobile and responsive to habitat conditions, which prompts the need to understand how local habitat and landscape characteristics affect the delivery of ecosystem services.  This talk will review how my students and I have studied bird-delivered insect pest control in coffee farms in Jamaica and Kenya, and rodent pest control in winegrape vineyards of California. Our aim is to reveal how farmers can use local and surrounding habitats to achieve win-win scenarios by advancing both the provisioning of economically valuable pest control and the conservation of native birds.