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Indirect Effects of Gypsy Moth Defoliation on Nest Predation

Dale K. Thurber, William R. McClain and Robert C. Whitmore
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 58, No. 3 (Jul., 1994), pp. 493-500
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3809321
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3809321
Page Count: 8
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Indirect Effects of Gypsy Moth Defoliation on Nest Predation
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Abstract

Large areas of forested land are altered each year from gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) larvae feeding. Little is known about the impacts of forest defoliation on populations or reproductive success of forest-dwelling birds. Therefore, we investigated the effects of defoliation by gypsy moth larvae on the vulnerability of artificial bird nests to predation. We placed 450 nests along transects in a West Virginia oak-hickory (Quercus/Carya spp.) forest that had received variable defoliation for 3 years. Nests placed in defoliated sites suffered a higher predation rate (41.6%) than did those in nondefoliated sites (22.7%, P = 0.001). Nests placed ≤1 m from the ground suffered higher predation than those placed >1 m (46.4 vs. 21.7%, P < 0.001). Probability of predation was not directly related to nest concealment (i.e., percent vegetational cover ≤1 m of nests; P = 0.50), percent canopy cover (P = 0.55), or distance (5 vs. 10 vs. 15 m) from transect (P = 0.39). Consideration of effects of defoliation on avian habitat and productivity should be an integral part of management plans in forests vulnerable to gypsy moths.

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