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Effects of stand structure and landscape characteristics on habitat use by birds and small mammals in managed boreal forest of eastern Canada

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Community structure and relative abundance of 27 species of small mammals and forest birds were compared among three types of residual forest stands and unharvested control forest (CO). Treatments were young and old mosaics (a checkerboard pattern of residual and logged forest units of 85–100ha each) and megablocks (residual stands of 250–300ha isolated within a logged area of 2500–3000ha). Relative abundances were also used to establish habitat use models (HUMs). We found no statistical difference in species relative abundances between treatments and COs, although small sample sizes limited statistical power. HUMs explained a large amount of variation in habitat use for 15 mammal and bird species (mean 57.4± 3.5%, ranging between 22.3% and 75.7%). Variance partitioning emphasized the importance of stand structure characteristics as the principal predictors of abundance for censused species. Our results suggested that mosaics and megablocks are both suitable configurations to maintain studied species because no species exhibited lower relative abundances in such residual forest stands than COs. We suggest that residual forest stands planning should shift from a strictly landscape perspective toward a more holistic approach that considers residual forest structure as well as landscape characteristics.

La structure de communauté et l’abondance relative de 27 espèces de petits mammifères et d’oiseaux forestiers ont été comparées entre trois configurations de peuplements forestiers résiduels matures et la forêt non perturbée (CO). Les configurations étudiées étaient la mosaïque (une approche en damiers d’unités de forêt résiduelle et de coupes de 85–100ha chacune), et le méga-bloc (un bloc de forêt résiduelle de 250–300ha isolé par 2500–3000ha de coupes). Les abondances relatives ont été utilisées pour établir des modèles d’utilisation d’habitat (MUHs). Aucune différence d’abondance relative n’a été notée entre les traitements et les COs, malgré la faible réplication limitant la puissance statistique. Les MUHs expliquaient une large part de variabilité pour 15 espèces (moyenne de 57,4± 3,5 %, variant de 22,3 % à 75,7 %). Le partitionnement de la variance soulignait l’importance des variables de structure du peuplement comme principaux prédicteurs d’abondance pour les espèces étudiées. Nos résultats suggèrent que les configurations étudiées sont souhaitables pour maintenir les espèces recensées, puisque aucune ne présentait d’abondance relative plus faible qu’en COs. Nous suggérons que la planification des peuplements résiduels devrait évoluer d’une perspective stricte de paysage vers une approche plus holistique en intégrant tant la structure des peuplements résiduels que leur configuration.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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