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Title: Short-Term Effects of Understory and Overstory Management on Breeding Birds in Arkansas Oak-Hickory Forests

Author: Rodewald, Paul G.; Smith, Kimberly G.;

Date: 1998

Source: Journal of Wildlife Management 62(4):1998

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Relatively little is known about the effects of uneven-aged forest management practices on eastern forest birds, despite the fact that such methods are now commonly practiced. In 1993-94, we studied the short-term effects of uneven-aged forest management on bird communities in oak-hickory forests of north-western Arkansas. We estimated bird abundance in mature forests and on managed plots receiving either a heavy cutting of understory vegetation (understory treatment) or a combination of both understory cutting and selective cutting in the forest overstory (full treatment). Two nesting guilds and 7 of 14 species with adequate sample size showed significant treatment effects. Ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocupillus), worm-eating warblers (Helmitheros vermivorus), Acadian flycatchers (Empidonax virescens), and the understory-nesting guild were most abundant in mature forest. Indigo buntings (Pusserina cyanea), white-breasted nuthatches (Sitta carolinesis), and eastern wood-pewees (Contopus virens) were more abundant on full treatment plots. Tufted titmice (Bueolophus bicolor) were most abundant on mature forest and understory treatment plots. The canopy-nesting guild was most abundant on understory and full treatment plots. Our results suggest that if removal of understory vegetation was practiced widely in the Arkansas Ozarks as part of uneven-aged management, populations of some ground- and shrub-nesting forest interior species of birds could be negatively affected, whereas a few forest canopy and edge species may respond positively. Future research on this type of uneven-aged management should examine effects of removing varying amounts of understory vegetation on both forest interior bird populations and forest regeneration.

Keywords: Arkansas, Nearctic-Neotropical migratory birds, oak-hickory forests, Ozark Mountains, uneven-aged forest management

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Rodewald, Paul G.; Smith, Kimberly G. 1998. Short-Term Effects of Understory and Overstory Management on Breeding Birds in Arkansas Oak-Hickory Forests. Journal of Wildlife Management 62(4):1998


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