Effects of management regime on the abundance and nest survival of shrubland birds in wildlife openings in northern New England, USA
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Forest Ecology and Management. 258(7): 1669-1676.
Many shrubland bird species are declining in eastern North America and as a result forestmanagers have used a variety of techniques to provide breeding habitat for these species. The maintenance of permanent "wildlife openings" using prescribed burns or mechanical treatments is a widely used approach for providing habitat for these species, but there have been no studies of the effects of treatment regime on bird abundance and nest survival in managed wildlife openings. We studied shrubland birds in wildlife openings on the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) in New Hampshire and Maine, USA, during 2003 and 2004. We analyzed bird abundance and nest survival in relation to treatment type (burned versus mowed), treatment frequency, time since treatment, and patch area. We found that wildlife openings provided habitat for shrubland birds that are not present in mature forest. There was relatively modest support for models of focal bird species abundance as a function of treatment regime variables, despite pronounced effects of treatment on habitat conditions. This probably was attributable to the combined effects of complex site histories and bird site fidelity. Overall nest success (52%) was comparable to other types of early-successional habitats in the region, but there were few supported relationships between nest survival and treatment variables. We conclude that wildlife openings provide quality habitat for shrubland birds of high conservation interest as long as managers ensure treatment intervals are long enough to permit the development of woody vegetation characteristic of the later stages of this sere.
KeywordsEarly-successional habitat; Detectibility; Nest success; Patch area; Scrub-shrub birds; Management history
Chandler, Richard B.; King, David I.; Chandler, Carlin C. 2009. Effects of management regime on the abundance and nest survival of shrubland birds in wildlife openings in northern New England, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 258(7): 1669-1676. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2009.07.025.