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Effect of spruce afforestation on bird community dynamics in a native broad-leaved forest area

Effect of spruce afforestation on bird community dynamics in a native broad-leaved forest area

Acta Oecologica 15(3): 275-288

Spruce forestry is usually considered to impoverish animal communities but few data support this claim. This paper analyses the structure and dynamics of bird communities over an artificial spruce plantation age gradient and compares them with those of a deciduous native beechwood succession. Fifty-two bird species (2 489 individuals) were recorded in 14 pure evenly-aged spruce plantations along a gradient from 2 yr to 77 yr Species richness was lowest in the youngest plots (2 yr) and maximal in the 37 yr plantation. Youngest plantations recruited species of open habitats; a fast change in community composition occurred in bushy stages (from 4 to 10 yr). Comparison between bird communities of the artificial spruce succession and those of the beech succession showed the particularity of young spruce stages which has no equivalent in any other stages of both successions. Bird communities in bushy stages are very similar in both successions. The avifaunas of old stages diverge between the two successions in two respects: by (1) the colonization of old spruce plantations by bird species specialized in conifers, and (2) the occurrence of birds restricted to old broad-leaved forests in the beech succession. Therefore, at a regional scale spruce forestry modifies to some extent bird communities but does not impoverish them.

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Accession: 002604866

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