Bird response to silviculture induced change in forest structure within bottomland hardwood forests

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Silvicultural treatments prescribed to encourage development of desired stand structure (i.e., wildlife-forestry) should result in increased abundance of many bird species of management concern, especially species using dense understory habitat. Desired forest conditions within bottomland vary among sites, but average 60-70% overstory canopy that is heterogeneously distributed with >5 dominant trees/ha retained, and a basal area of 14-16 m2/ha. Desired mid-story and understory cover are between 25-40%. Cavity trees (small and large) as well as dead and/or stressed trees should be retained, ultimately providing >14 m3/ha coarse woody debris, and shade-intolerant tree regeneration should be present on 30-40% of the area. We assessed avian response to prescribed wildlife-forestry silviculture treatments via distance-adjusted point counts and constant effort mist-netting within forest stands on Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Louisiana. More species and individuals were detected within stands 1-13 years post-treatment than within untreated stands. Most species, especially species benefiting from disturbance, increased in density after treatment. A few species decreased in density, yet remained fairly relatively abundant post-treatment. Captures from netting suggested three generalized responses to wildlife-forestry silviculture: (1) species with rapid, short-duration positive response, (2) species with slower but more prolonged positive response, and (3) species which initially declined but had long-term positive population response. We recommend increased use of prescribed wildlife-forestry silvicultural prescriptions to enhance bottomland forest habitat for priority bird species.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Bird response to silviculture induced change in forest structure within bottomland hardwood forests
Year Published 2008
Language English
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 138
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Other Government Series
Larger Work Title Tundra to Tropics: Connecting Birds, Habitats and People: 4th International Partners in Flight Conference, 13-16 February 2008, McAllen, Texas: Abstracts
First page addendum (