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Landscape correlates of breeding bird richness across the United States mid-Atlantic region

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DOI: 10.1023/A:1006415029890

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Abstract

Using a new set of landscape indicator data generated by the U.S.EPA, and a comprehensive breeding bird database from the National Breeding Bird Survey, we evaluated associations between breeding bird richness and landscape characteristics across the entire mid-Atlantic region of the United States. We evaluated how these relationships varied among different groupings (guilds) of birds based on functional, structural, and compositional aspects of individual species demographics. Forest edge was by far the most important landscape attribute affecting the richness of the lumped specialist and generalist guilds; specialist species richness was negatively associated with forest edge and generalist richness was positively associated with forest edge. Landscape variables (indicators) explained a greater proportion of specialist species richness than the generalist guild (46% and 31%, respectively). The lower value in generalists may reflect freer-scale distributions of open habitat that go undetected by the Landsat satellite, open habitats created by roads (the areas from which breeding bird data are obtained), and the lumping of a wide variety of species into the generalist category. A further breakdown of species into 16 guilds showed considerable variation in the response of breeding birds to landscape conditions; forest obligate species had the strongest association with landscape indicators measured in this study (55% of the total variation explained) and forest generalists and open ground nesters the lowest (17% of the total variation explained). The variable response of guild species richness to landscape pattern suggests that one must consider species' demographics when assessing the consequences of landscape change on breeding birds.Using a new set of landscape indicator data generated by the U.S. EPA, and a comprehensive breeding bird database from the National Breeding Bird Survey, we evaluated associations between breeding bird richness and landscape characteristics across the entire mid-Atlantic region of the United States. We evaluated how these relationships varied among different groupings (guilds) of birds based on functional, structural, and compositional aspects of individual species demographics. Forest edge was by far the most important landscape attribute affecting the richness of the lumped specialist and generalist guilds; specialist species richness was negatively associated with forest edge and generalist richness was positively associated with forest edge. Landscape variables (indicators) explained a greater proportion of specialist species richness than the generalist guild (46% and 31%, respectively). The lower value in generalists may reflect finer-scale distributions of open habitat that go undetected by the Landsat satellite, open habitats created by roads (the areas from which breeding bird data are obtained), and the lumping of a wide variety of species into the generalist category. A further breakdown of species into 16 guilds showed considerable variation in the response of breeding birds to landscape conditions; forest obligate species had the strongest association with landscape indicators measured in this study (55% of the total variation explained) and forest generalists and open ground nesters the lowest (17% of the total variation explained). The variable response of guild species richness to landscape pattern suggests that one must consider species' demographics when assessing the consequences of landscape change on breeding birds.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Conference Paper
Publication Subtype:
Conference Paper
Title:
Landscape correlates of breeding bird richness across the United States mid-Atlantic region
DOI:
10.1023/A:1006415029890
Volume
63
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2000
Language:
English
Publisher:
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Publisher location:
Dordrecht, Netherlands
Larger Work Title:
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
First page:
159
Last page:
174
Number of Pages:
16
Conference Title:
1st Symposium on the Mid-Atlantic Integrated Assessment Program (MAIA)
Conference Location:
Baltimore, MD, USA
Conference Date:
30 November 1998 through 2 December 1998