Date of Graduation
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Wildlife and Fisheries Resources
Petra Bohall Wood.
Many studies examining forest fragmentation effects on songbirds have been conducted in landscapes significantly altered by urbanization or agriculturalization rather than forested landscapes. There is some evidence that forest fragmentation due to timber harvesting has different effects on bird abundance than fragmentation from other land uses. It is unknown how songbirds respond to different forms of timber harvesting as fragmentation events. Also, it is unclear if microhabitat-level or landscape-level characteristics are more important predictors of breeding bird occurrence in the central Appalachians. The objectives of my study were to determine the short-term effects of diameter-limit and two-age timber harvesting on the abundance and nest survival of songbirds and to determine the specific landscape-level and microhabitat-level features of a recently fragmented industrial forest that affect songbird abundance.;I examined songbird abundance at 50-m fixed-radius point counts and nest survival on eight 40-ha nest searching plots on the Westvaco Wildlife and Ecosystem Research Forest in Randolph County, West Virginia, 1-yr before and 1--2-yr after partial harvesting. Microhabitat variables were measured within each 50-m radius point count plot, and landscape metrics were calculated within a 1-km radius of each point count.;For most songbird species present prior to harvest, abundances changed little following diameter-limit harvesting. Interior-edge species and total abundance of songbirds were more abundant in diameter-limit harvested areas. The abundance of most songbird species present prior to two-age harvesting also changed little after the harvest. Interior-edge species had higher abundance in two-age harvested areas. Two species, the Dark eyed-Junco (Junco hyemalis) and Veery (Catharus fuscescens), were found more frequently in nonfragmented landscapes than in landscapes fragmented by regeneration (two-age and seed tree) harvests, and two different species, the Ovenbird (Seirus aurocapillus) and Scarlet Tanager ( Piranga olivacea), were found more frequently in nonfragmented landscapes than in landscapes fragmented by diameter-limit harvests. However, these results might not apply to species that were rare or uncommon on the study area.;It appears that timber harvesting in this forested landscape is not having short-term deleterious impacts on most songbirds. These results could be used by land managers to maintain healthy and diverse populations of songbirds in extensively forested regions.
Weakland, Cathy Ann, "Effects of Diameter-limit and Two-age Timber Harvesting on Songbird Populations on an Industrial Forest in Central West Virginia" (2000). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 1243.