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The Effects of Shelterwood Logging on Bird Community Composition in the Black Hills, Wyoming

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The Black Hills of Wyoming and South Dakota are characterized by a complex history of both natural and human disturbance regimes. Historically, ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) communities were characterized by frequent, cool ground fires. Intensive fire suppression and timber harvest throughout the past century have drastically altered the structure of existing forests. Today, much of the area has been harvested using shelterwood logging resulting in open even-aged stands. The goal of this study was to compare bird communities in treated (areas that have recently been harvested) and untreated (areas receiving minimal silvicultural treatment) in the past 40 yr. Of the 20 commonly observed bird species, 3 species [red-breasted nuthatch (Sitta Canadensis), brown creeper (Certhia Americana), and ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus)] were conspicuously less abundant in treated than in untreated stands. Eleven other species were more abundant in treated stands, while six species showed no response to treatment. Although bird species diversity and the abundance of birds were highest in treated stands, this does not imply that logging is beneficial to the entire bird community. The abundance of particular bird species may appear to have increased, but the composition of the bird community has been altered. As more of the forested areas are harvested, the bird community will shift from one with birds typical of both open pine and dense pine forest to one dominated by ground foraging species. FOR. SCI. 48(2):365–372.

Keywords: Habitat use; birds; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; logging; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Wyoming Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, 82071-3166, Phone: (307) 766-5415; Fax: (307) 766-5400

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.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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