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Breeding bird assemblages associated with stages of forest succession in large river floodplains

Natural Areas Journal

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Abstract

Floodplain forests rival all other habitat types in bird density and diversity. However, major successional changes are predicted for floodplain forests along the Mississippi River in the coming decades; young forests may replace the existing mature silver maple (Acer saccharinum L.) forests in some areas. We wanted to assess how the breeding bird community might respond to these changes. We studied stands of young forests along the middle Mississippi River, comparing the breeding bird assemblages among three stages of forest succession: shrub/scrub, young cottonwood (Populus deltoides Marshall) and willow (Salix nigra Marshall) forests, and mature silver maple dominated forests. We recorded a total of 54 bird species; the most frequently observed species were the indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea), red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), and yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus). Bird species richness differed among the habitat types, with mature forests supporting the largest number of species and the most species of management concern. The shrub/scrub and mature forest bird assemblages were distinct and shared few species, but the young forests had no identifiable bird species assemblage, sharing species found in both of the other habitat types. The bird assemblages we observed in young forests may become more prevalent as aging floodplain forests are replaced with younger stages of forest succession. Under this scenario, we would expect a temporary local decrease in bird species richness and habitat for species of management concern.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Breeding bird assemblages associated with stages of forest succession in large river floodplains
Series title:
Natural Areas Journal
Volume
25
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2005
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
Description:
pp. 55-70
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Natural Areas Journal
First page:
55
Last page:
70
Number of Pages:
16