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Distribution of bird species richness at a regional scale in tropical dry forest of Central America

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The objectives of this study were to identify landscape and habitat characteristics associated with bird species richness at a regional scale. In particular, we examined how these variables affect resident bird, forest bird, fruit-eating bird and restricted-range bird species richness in forest fragments.Location

Study sites were located in seven decreed reserves in Costa Rica and Nicaragua that contain some of the largest and best-protected fragments of tropical dry forests in central America.Methods

Bird censuses were undertaken using point counts at each site and compared with landscape metrics and habitat characteristics of reserves.Results

Forest cover within reserves, zoochoric species richness, tree and shrub species richness, and tree height were associated with resident, forest and fruit-eating bird species richness in tropical dry forests.Main conclusions

The distribution of bird species richness in tropical dry forests of central America can be attributed to a number of interacting factors. Conservation priorities based on bird species richness should focus on Santa Rosa National Park, while the Chacocente and Cosiguina reserves deserve a high priority for conservation within Nicaragua.

Keywords: Tropical dry forest; bird species richness; central America; floristic composition; landscapes metrics; vegetation structure

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: May 1, 2001

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