Short-Term Effects of Thinning and Burning Restoration Treatments on Avian Community Composition, Density, and Nest Survival in the Eastern Cascades Dry Forests, Washington
Abstract:We monitored the short-term (<3 years) response of land birds to restoration treatments (thin, burn, and thin-burn) in dry forests located on the eastern slope of the Cascade Range in Washington. Overall avian community composition did not change among the treatments. However, individual species responses varied with the chipping sparrow showing lower density in treatments, whereas hermit thrush, mountain chickadee, white-headed woodpecker, western bluebird, American crow, and common raven increased in treatment units. Daily survival rates of nesting guilds were similar in treated versus control stands; however, burn-only showed lower daily survival rates compared with other treatments. Additional research is needed to validate this result. Cavity-nesters (mountain chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, and house wren) and foliage-nesters (chipping sparrow) used trees that were larger in diameter than available regardless of the treatment. Our results, in combination with other results from this study area, provide important implications for managers: (1) thin-burn treatments were effective at restoring habitat for several avian focal species; (2) spring burn treatments should be carefully designed to achieve desired restoration objectives; (3) large trees provide important habitat functions and are a key component for maintaining or restoring the viability of focal avian species; and (4) additional research is needed to better understand the effects of spring burning and the long-term effects of dry forest restoration treatments.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: February 1, 2010
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