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Influences of Hardwood Stand Area and Adjacency on Breeding Birds in an Intensively Managed Pine Landscape

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We compared species richness, abundance, and community composition of breeding landbirds among three areal classes of mature hardwood stands within an intensively managed pine (Pinus taeda) landscape in the Lower Coastal Plain of South Carolina. We also compared these community metrics among rotation-age pines (≈20 yr old), the pine matrix (regenerated to rotation-age pine stands comprising 50% of the landscape), and all hardwood stands regardless of area. Approximately 220 fixed-radius point counts were conducted in 1995 and 1996. Species richness (21, 23, and 25 species, respectively) within small (n = 19; 1.0–4.4 ha), medium (n = 17; 6.0–34.4 ha), and large (n = 6; 65–560 ha) hardwood islands within the pine matrix was the same, but the trend was for richness to increase with island area. Forest interior, neotropical migrants dominated all hardwood stand areas. Most species were common to all areal classes, with only a few restricted to a particular areal class. Thus, there was little evidence that these hardwood islands, embedded in a managed pine landscape context, harbored unique bird communities. Species richness (40) was greatest within the matrix of pine stands of all ages, intermediate (32) in hardwood stands, and least (27) in rotation-age pine stands. Hardwood stands supported the highest total bird densities as well as the highest densities of neotropical migrants. Pine stands hosted high densities of both resident and early successional neotropical migrants. We concluded that the presence of hardwood stands embedded within a matrix of different age classes of pine likely allowed forest-interior neotropical migrants typical of hardwood stands to “spill over” into adjacent, structurally similar pine stands and vice versa. FOR. SCI. 48(2):323–330.

Keywords: South Carolina; coastal plain; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; neotropical; species area

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Department of Forestry, Box 8002 North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, 27695-8002, Phone: (919) 620-0100 2: NC Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 W. Jones St., Raleigh, NC, 27601-1029, Phone: (919) 715-2600 3: Fisheries and Wildlife Program, Departments of Forestry and Zoology, Box 8002 North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, 27695-8002, Phone: (919) 515-7578; Fax: (919) 515-8149

Publication date: May 1, 2002

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