THE EFFECTS OF CLEARCUT SIZE ON THE BIRD COMMUNITY IN THE SECOND COLLEGE GRANT
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Abstract. This study examines the effects of forest opening (clearcut) size on the surrounding forest-bird community with the objective of offering management suggestions for foresters who employ the ...
Abstract. This study examines the effects of forest opening (clearcut) size on the surrounding forest-bird community with the objective of offering management suggestions for foresters who employ the clearcut method. I hypothesized that large and small clearcuts would have different effects on the forest-bird assemblage associated with each. I used the point-count method to assess bird abundance in clearcuts, on the edges, and 100 m into the forest from the edges of large and small clearcuts. I found that Neotropical migrant birds and forest-interior birds were the most affected by large clearcuts showing significantly lower abundance in forest areas 100 m from large clearcut edges than in forest areas 100 m from small clearcuts. Edge-open birds were more abundant in large clearcut openings and edges than in small clearcut openings and edges. Blue jays (an avian nest predator) were more abundant on the edges of large clearcuts than on the edges of small clearcuts. A recent study found that forest-interior bird abundance levels off after 100 m distance from small (0.4 ha) forest openings. This result combined with my findings suggest that small openings in the Second College Grant represent less of a disturbance to Neotropical migrants and forest-interior birds. Additionally, given higher abundances of an avian nest predator in large clearcuts, reproductive success could be much lower in areas associated with large clearcuts. Some species such as the White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis), however preferred large clearcuts suggesting that there are some benefits to overall bird abundance by including large clearcuts in a managed landscape.
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