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

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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: 2: Department of Wildlife Ecology University of Wisconsin 1670 Linden Drive, 228 Russell Labs Madison WI 53706, Email:

Publication date: April 1, 2004

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.

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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