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Relationship Between Territorial Male Golden-Winged Warblers in Managed Aspen Stands in Northern Wisconsin, USA

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Abstract:

We compared territorial male Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) (GWWA) density and territory placement across four size classes [(1) seedling (<2.5 cm mean diameter at breast height (dbh)), (2) small sapling (3.0–6.0 cm dbh), (3) large sapling (7.0–11.5 cm dbh), (4) pole (12.5–17.0 cm dbh)] of aspen forests (Populus spp.) in northern Wisconsin. We surveyed four stands in each size class in May-June 2000 and observed the highest male density (0.55 males/ha) in the seedling size class. Male density for size classes 2–4 combined was 0.04 males/ha. Aspen sucker density was a good predictor of male density across size classes and thus may be a good indicator of habitat quality in aspen communities. Mean GWWA territory area was 0.82 ha (n = 12) in Size Class 1, 0.54 ha (n = 6) in Size Class 4, and 0.18 ha (n = 6) for Size Classes 2 and 3 combined. We found no relationship between male density and the amount of stand edge (km/ha), and territories did not consistently include the stand edge. Because GWWA are strongly associated with aspen seedling stem densities and this aspen stand size class is suitable to GWWAs for a relatively short period of time, we believe conservation will require managing aspen forests to ensure that habitat is always available. Clearcutting aspen forest is a practical strategy to create GWWA breeding cover in the Upper Great Lakes Region. FOR. SCI. 50(2):153–161.

Keywords: Clearcut; GWWA; Populus; Vermivora chrysoptera; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forest succession; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Wildlife Ecology University of Wisconsin 1670 Linden Drive, 228 Russell Labs Madison WI 53706 Current Address: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 107 Sutliff Avenue Rhinelander WI 54501 Phone: (715) 365-8862, Email: amber.roth@dnr.state.wi.us 2: Department of Wildlife Ecology University of Wisconsin 1670 Linden Drive, 228 Russell Labs Madison WI 53706, Email: rslute@facstaff.wisc.edu

Publication date: April 1, 2004

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