Canadian Forest Service Publications

Birds as indicators of sustainable forest management. 2004. Venier, L.A.; Pearce, J.L. The Forestry Chronicle 80: 61-66.

Year: 2004

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 24407

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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This paper discusses the potential of birds as indicators of sustainable forest management. Several reviews have been critical of birds as indicators of environmental change, and we discuss the major criticisms in the context of forest management. We address these criticisms by suggesting alternative approaches for an indicator research program including the use of focussed studies to identify cause-and-effect relationships, habitat modelling to act as a surrogate to extensive monitoring of populations, and spatially-explicit population modelling (1) to conduct exploratory sensitivity analysis to identify the most important parameters; (2) to incorporate the spatial configuration of habitat into consideration of the impacts of management; (3) to anticipate future impacts as an alternative to measuring past impacts; (4) and, as a means of evaluating alternative management scenarios including natural disturbance regimes. Birds are unlikely to be able to act as a precise tool for the measurement of some forest condition, but they could be useful indicators of sustainable forest management as part of an iterative research program.