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The Effect of Habitat Alteration on Migratory Land Birds in a West Mexican Tropical Deciduous Forest: A Conservation Perspective

Richard L. Hutto
Conservation Biology
Vol. 3, No. 2 (Jun., 1989), pp. 138-148
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2386145
Page Count: 11
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The Effect of Habitat Alteration on Migratory Land Birds in a West Mexican Tropical Deciduous Forest: A Conservation Perspective
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Abstract

I compared point count census data from both short and tall second-growth sites with counts taken from a nearby undisturbed tropical deciduous forest in coastal Jalisco, Mexico. Each of the second-growth sites differed significantly from the undisturbed forest in its bird composition. Much of the change can be attributed to the improvement of conditions for some guild members (e.g., seedeaters) and the removal of adequate conditions for others (e.g., trunk-foragers, fruit-eaters). Nonetheless, there was a significant difference in the effect on migrant vs. resident species that was independent of foraging guild; long-distance migratory species were significantly more likely to increase in abundance as a result of disturbance than were resident species. Thus, many migratory species in western Mexico may benefit from the human-caused creation of mid-successional habitats. It is important to note, however, that this conclusion may not apply to more intensely disturbed habitats and does not apply to all migratory species. In addition, without information on the habitat and geographical distribution of migrants in winter, and habitat-dependent mortality rates, we cannot draw conclusions about the broad-scale effects on the species that showed population changes in response to habitat disturbance.

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