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Bird Communities Associated with Harvested Hardwood Stands Containing Residual Trees

Amanda D. Rodewald and Richard H. Yahner
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 64, No. 4 (Oct., 2000), pp. 924-932
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3803200
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3803200
Page Count: 9
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Bird Communities Associated with Harvested Hardwood Stands Containing Residual Trees
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Abstract

Retention of residual trees in even-aged harvested stands is an alternative to traditional clearcutting, seed-tree, and shelterwood systems, but little is known about effects of new even-aged retention methods on bird communities. Clearcutting on Pennsylvania state forests recently has been replaced by a new forest-management practice termed even-aged reproduction stands with reservation guidelines (hereafter, EAR stands), in which high densities of trees in multiple crown and size classes (101 live trees/ha ±28 SE on study sites) of both commercially and non-commercially important tree species are permanently reserved to maintain species and structural diversity. We compared habitat structure and breeding-bird communities between EAR stands (harvested) and reference stands (unharvested) in 2 state forests of Pennsylvania in 1997-98 and related bird abundance within harvested stands to differences in habitat characteristics among EAR stands and the surrounding landscapes. Total abundance of all bird species combined, abundances of early-successional and edge-habitat guilds, and abundances of many early-successional bird species were significantly higher in EAR stands than in reference stands, but abundances of the forest habitat guild and of 8 forest-associated species were lower in EAR stands. Although EAR stands provide suitable habitat for bird species associated with early-successional forests, abundances of species associated with mature forests were lower in EAR stands than in reference stands despite retention of residual trees. However, some species of forest birds (e.g., red-eyed vireos [Vireo olivaceus]), which usually are absent from recent clearcut stands until 12-20 years post-harvest, were often detected in EAR stands. Thus, residual trees in EAR stands provide to forest birds habitat components that are generally lacking in clearcut stands. Because abundances of both forest habitat and forest-canopy nesting guilds declined and abundance of brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) increased with size of EAR stands (especially when >20 ha), managers should consider limiting the size of EAR stands.

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