Canadian Forest Service Publications

Benefits of aggregate green tree retention to boreal forest birds. 2015. Venier, L.A.; Dalley, K.; Goulet, P.; Mills, S.; Pitt, D.; Cowcill, K. Forest Ecology and Management 343:80-87.

Year: 2015

Available from: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35925

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.foreeco.2015.01.024

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Abstract

We evaluated the function of aggregate tree retention as mature habitat in a harvested matrix for boreal forest birds in a boreal mixedwood. We compared insular and peninsular residual patches ranging from 0.51 ha to 4.32 ha with plots in dispersed retention and intact forest to evaluate their usefulness to forest birds as habitat in a harvested matrix. We found that forest bird communities were significantly different in all three treatments and that bird communities in patches were an intermediate condition between intact forest and dispersed retention harvest. We observed 12 predominantly forest species, including Brown Creeper (Certhia americana), Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), and Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens_), in patches at abundance levels between dispersed retention and intact forest plots. For these species, it appears that patches offer an important habitat in a harvested matrix but at lower abundance than in intact forest. Of the 12 predominantly forest species found in patches, 8 had confirmed breeding. Our results suggest that aggregate retention patches provide breeding quality habitat to a large group of forest species; however, the patches are not equivalent to intact forest suggesting that intact forest should be maintained in landscapes.

Plain Language Summary

We evaluate the function of aggregate tree retention to boreal forest birds in a boreal mixedwood. We compared insular and peninsular residual patches ranging from 0.51 ha to 4.22 ha in a harvested matrix with plots in dispersed retention and intact forest to evaluate their usefulness to forest birds. We found that forest bird communities were significantly different in all three treatments and that bird communities in patches were an intermediate condition between intact forest and dispersed retention harvest. We observed 12 predominantly forest species, including Brown Creeper, Ovenbird, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and Black-throated Blue Warbler, in patches at abundance levels between dispersed retention and intact forest plots. For these species, it appears that patches offer an important habitat in a harvested matrix but at lower abundance than in intact forest. Of the 12 predominantly forest species found in patches, 8 had confirmed breeding. Our results suggest that aggregate retention patches provide breeding quality habitat to a large group of forest species; however, the patches are not equivalent to contiguous forest suggesting that some intact forest should be maintained in landscapes.

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