Effects of early-successional shrubland management on breeding wood thrush populations
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The Journal of Wildlife Management
In forested landscapes, creation of habitat for early-successional shrubland birds is controversial because of perceived conflicts with the conservation of mature-forest birds. Nonetheless, many mature-forest birds, especially fledglings, readily use early-successional stands during the post-breeding period. This suggests that for mature-forest birds, creating habitat for early-successional birds could involve a tradeoff: reduced abundance and nest survival due to the loss of nesting habitat versus enhanced fledgling survival in early-successional stands. Our research addressed the effects of the creation of early-successional habitat for shrubland birds on wood thrushes (Hylocichla mustelina) in western Massachusetts, USA. We compared wood thrush abundance, nest success, fecundity, and post-fledging survival in landscapes with high (∼20%) or low (∼1%) cover of early-successional stands suitable for shrubland birds. We found no differences in nest success, fecundity, and post-fledging survival between the 2 types of landscapes. Abundance of breeders, however, was significantly greater on the sites with high cover of early-successional habitat. We conclude that in forested landscapes, creation of early-successional habitat at levels recommended for the conservation of shrubland birds is compatible with viable wood thrush populations.
Keywordsforestry, habitat, Hylocichla mustelina, logging, nest, point count, post-fledging, predation, silviculture
Schlossberg, Scott; King, David I.; Destefano, Stephen; Hartley, Mitch. 2018. Effects of early-successional shrubland management on breeding wood thrush populations. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 82(8): 1572-1581. https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.21559.