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The Effect of Forest Roads on the Reproductive Success of Forest-Dwelling Passerine Birds

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Recent studies indicate that forest roads may affect the distribution of forest-dwelling birds. However, previous studies have not demonstrated any significant effects of forest roads on avian productivity. We studied the effect of maintained and unmaintained forest roads on (1) forest bird nest survival, (2) reproductive parameters of ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapillus) potentially associated with food abundance, and (3) habitat and microclimate at six sites on the White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire, during two breeding seasons. Nest survival did not differ between areas near (0–150 m) and far (>150 m) from maintained forest roads, and was marginally (P=0.08) higher in areas near (0–150 m) unmaintained roads. When the 0–150 m distance class was subdivided, however, nest survival was significantly higher within 0–75 m of maintained roads than >75–150 m away. Ovenbird nest initiation dates, clutch size, and fledging success did not differ between areas near (0–150 m) and far (>150 m) from maintained and unmaintained forest roads, and this result did not change when the distance class 0–150 m from roads was subdivided. There were no relationships between habitat or microclimate and distance from maintained roads. We conclude that small, unsurfaced forest roads at low road density do not result in decreases in forest passerine bird productivity in extensively forested areas in New England. FOR. SCI. 48(2):391–396.
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Keywords: Edges; Seiurus aurocapillus; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; habitat; microclimate; natural resource management; natural resources; nest success

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Research Wildlife Biologist USDA Forest Service Northeastern Research Station, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, 01003, Phone: (413) 545-0357; Fax: (413) 545-1860 dking@fs.fed.us 2: Leader Wildlife Habitat Research Unit, USDA Forest Service Northeastern Research Station, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, 01003, Phone: (413) 545-0357 rdegraaf@fs.fed.us

Publication date: 2002-05-01

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.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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