Breeding birds in managed forests on public conservation lands in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley

Forest Ecology and Management
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Abstract

Managers of public conservation lands in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley have implemented forest management strategies to improve bottomland hardwood habitat for target wildlife species. Through implementation of various silvicultural practices, forest managers have sought to attain forest structural conditions (e.g., canopy cover, basal area, etc.) within values postulated to benefit wildlife. We evaluated data from point count surveys of breeding birds on 180 silviculturally treated stands (1049 counts) that ranged from 1 to 20 years post-treatment and 134 control stands (676 counts) that had not been harvested for >20 years. Birds detected during 10-min counts were recorded within four distance classes and three time intervals. Avian diversity was greater on treated stands than on unharvested stands. Of 42 commonly detected species, six species including Prothonotary Warbler (Prothonotaria citrea) and Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens) were indicative of control stands. Similarly, six species including Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) and Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) were indicative of treated stands. Using a removal model to assess probability of detection, we evaluated occupancy of bottomland forests at two spatial scales (stands and points within occupied stands). Wildlife-forestry treatment improved predictive models of species occupancy for 18 species. We found years post treatment (range = 1–20), total basal area, and overstory canopy were important species-specific predictors of occupancy, whereas variability in basal area was not. In addition, we used a removal model to estimate species-specific probability of availability for detection, and a distance model to estimate effective detection radius. We used these two estimated parameters to derive species densities and 95% confidence intervals for treated and unharvested stands. Avian densities differed between treated and control stands for 16 species, but only Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) and Yellow-breasted Chat had greater densities on treated stands.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Breeding birds in managed forests on public conservation lands in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley
Series title Forest Ecology and Management
DOI 10.1016/j.foreco.2016.10.031
Volume 384
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 11 p.
First page 180
Last page 190
Country United States
Other Geospatial Mississippi Alluvial Valley