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Short-Term Effects of Thinning and Burning Restoration Treatments on Avian Community Composition, Density, and Nest Survival in the Eastern Cascades Dry Forests, Washington

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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.
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Keywords: avian abundance and density; avian community composition; dry forests; focal avian species; mechanical; nest survival; prescribed fire; restoration treatments

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-02-01

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  • 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.
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    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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