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Diversity and abundance of landbirds in a northeastern industrial forest

Diversity and abundance of landbirds in a northeastern industrial forest

Journal of Wildlife Management 61(3): 718-735

We studied abundance and diversity of landbirds in all successional stages of habitat in an industrial forest landscape in northern Maine. Of 9 broad habitat categories, clearcuts and mature hardwood forests had the lowest avian diversity, but these 2 habitats each contained many individual species that showed their maximum abundance in those habitats. Greatest avian diversity was found in 2 young forest types (6-20 yr following harvesting). Young, even-aged regeneration had the greatest abundance of individual birds per unit area, whereas mature hardwood had the lowest total abundance. Ten of 37 Neotropical migrant species had their highest abundance in the 2 youngest stages of forest (clearcuts and regeneration) whereas 13 of 37 species had their highest abundance in the 3 mature forest types. Short-distance migrants had highest abundances in early-successional habitats, and mature softwood stands contained the greatest number of resident species. The presence or absence at a point count station of 10 late-successional species (of 37) and 13 early-successional species (of 35) was related to the amount of similar habitat within 1 km of the point count center (homogeneous landscapes). Few species showed highest abundances in heterogeneous landscapes. Spatially consolidating harvesting might enhance both early- and late-successional species simultaneously. Based on species-habitat associations identified in this study, estimated population trends in a 1,270 km-2 section of our study area did not correlate well with Breeding Bird Survey results for the state of Maine (1981-1992). This discrepancy probably resulted because few Breeding Bird survey routes occur in the industrial forest of northern Maine, and because of different trends in habitat abundances inside and outside of the study area. This result indicates there might be important subregional differences in landbird population trends. Current timber harvest rates likely will result in a decrease in abundance of mature forest in Maine's industrial forest. Many early-successional species, including some of conservation concern, will benefit from this trend. Abundances of mature-forest species probably will decrease. The challenge industry and conservation biologists face is how to construct dynamic landscapes that balance the age-class distribution of the forest and maintain mature forest species.

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Accession: 003098707

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DOI: 10.2307/3802179

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