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Avian Habitat Relationships at Multiple Scales in a New England Forest

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Abstract:

Habitat selection by birds is a complex phenomenon that varies by species and ommunity. Some birds select habitat according to specific combinations of microhabitat characteristics, which pertain to the structure and composition of site-specific vegetation. Recently, however, habitat selection studies have shifted from site-specific characteristics to consideration of coarser environmental scales. We examined habitat relationships for 31 bird species in the White Mountain National Forest at a series of scales from microhabitat (fine scale) to the landscape (coarse scale). Relative abundance data were collected through 10 min. point counts at 360 points organized into 15 transects. Habitats sampled included a diversity of forest-cover types (deciduous to coniferous) and management strategies (wilderness to clearcuts). Species-specific logistic regression models based on subsets (183 and 48 points) of the original dataset corroborated the historical focus on microhabitat, but models including other scales indicated that some birds respond to coarser scale environmental characteristics. These results also supported the premise that some birds respond to multiple environmental scales. Community gradient descriptions, based on anonical correspondence analysis (CCA), supported results of logistic regression, indicating that microhabitat constituted the most important level followed by lesser, but significant, contributions from other scales. Through species-environment biplots, CCA also effectively illustrated avian habitat selection as a multiple-scale phenomenon, showing the hierarchical organization of landscape components and how they affect the spatial distribution of bird communities. FOR. SCI. 48(2):243–253.

Keywords: Birds; New England; canonical correspondence analysis; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; habitat relationships; multiple scales; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: School of Natural Resources, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, 05405, Phone: (802) 656-3324; Fax: (802) 656-8683 smacfade@zoo.uvm.edu 2: School of Natural Resources, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, 05405, Phone: (802) 656-3007 dcapen@nature.snr.uvm.edu

Publication date: May 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
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