Bird occupancy and richness in ponderosa pine forests with contrasting forest structure and fire history

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Abstract:

We compared the effects of two contrasting silvicultural treatments and prescribed fire on bird occupancy at Blacks Mountain Experimental Forest. Each silvicultural treatment was applied to two approximately 100ha units within each of three blocks. Prescribed burning was applied to one-half of each silvicultural treatment in a split-plot design. Occupancy was estimated at eight points in each plot for 11 bird species and three foraging guilds (bark gleaners, woodpeckers, and foliage gleaners). The frequencies of species detections on the point counts were used to estimate species richness on each plot. Occupancy did not differ among treatments for any of the guilds. Four of the 11 bird species, the American robin (Turdus migratorius L., 1766), the chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina (Bechstein, 1798)), the white-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis Latham, 1790), and the western tanager (Piranga ludoviciana (A. Wilson, 1811)), showed responses to the treatments. Species richness did not differ between the silvicultural or the burn treatments. The general lack of response of the bird community to the silvicultural and burn treatments is likely a result of the relatively large size of the trees and snags retained on both silvicultural treatments, the low intensity of the prescribed burns, and the lack of a strong contrast in tree density between the silvicultural treatments.

Nous avons comparé les effets de deux traitements sylvicoles contrastés et du brûlage dirigé sur l’abondance des oiseaux à la forêt expérimentale de Blacks Mountain. Le dispositif expérimental consistait en un plan en tiroirs comportant trois blocs de deux traitements sylvicoles en parcelles principales. Chaque parcelle, d’une superficie d’environ 100ha, était divisée en deux sous-parcelles, dont une avec brûlage dirigé. L’abondance de 11 espèces d’oiseaux appartenant à trois guildes d’alimentation (glaneurs de l’écorce, pics et glaneurs de feuillage) a été estimée à huit points dans chaque parcelle. Les fréquences de détection des espèces aux points d’écoute ont été utilisées pour estimer la richesse spécifique dans chaque parcelle. Les traitements n’ont eu aucun effet sur l’abondance des différentes guildes. Quatre des 11 espèces, soit le merle d’Amérique (Turdus migratorius L., 1766), le bruant familier (Spizella passerina (Bechstein, 1798)), la sittelle à poitrine blanche (Sitta carolinensis Latham, 1790) et le tangara à tête rouge (Piranga ludoviciana (A. Wilson, 1811)) ont réagi aux traitements. La richesse spécifique ne différait pas entre les traitements sylvicoles ou les traitements de brûlage. L’absence généralisée de réponse de la communauté aviaire aux traitements sylvicoles et au brûlage est probablement due à la rétention d’arbres vivants et d’arbres morts de grande taille dans les deux traitements sylvicoles, à la faible intensité du brûlage dirigé et à la faible différence dans la densité des arbres entre les traitements sylvicoles.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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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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