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Title: Potential Effects of Large-scale Elimination of Oaks by Red Oak Borers on Breeding Neotropical Migrants in the Ozarks

Author: Kimberly G. Smith, Frederick M. Stephen;

Date: 2005

Source: In: Ralph, C. John; Rich, Terrell D., editors 2005. Bird Conservation Implementation and Integration in the Americas: Proceedings of the Third International Partners in Flight Conference. 2002 March 20-24; Asilomar, California, Volume 1 Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191. Albany, CA: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: p. 312-321

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: The Arkansas Ozarks are currently experiencing an outbreak of the red oak borer (Enaphalodes rufulus), a native insect that has previously not been considered an important forest pest species. As many as 50 percent of the trees in the Ozarks, which has the highest density of oaks in the United States, may be dead by the year 2006. The Ozarks are generally believed to be a source region for Neotropical migratory birds, compared to fragmented areas to the east and north, but that could change very rapidly with the elimination of oaks. The potential impact on migratory breeding birds was assessed, first, by reviewing the impact on birds of other tree species eliminations that have occurred in the eastern United States (American chestnut [Castanea dentate], American elm [Ulmus americana], American beech [Fagus grandifolia], and Frazer [Abies fraseri] and Eastern [A. canadensis] firs). Those results were incorporated into our studies on migratory breeding birds in the Arkansas Ozarks. Populations of 11 of 20 migratory species are predicted to decline, and some species, such as the Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerula), may be extirpated. Only five forest species are predicted to increase, but at least five early successional species (e.g. Indigo Bunting [Passerina cyanea], Yellow-breasted Chat [Icteria virens]), which are currently absent from upland hardwood forests, should increase with the development of a scrub layer as the canopy opens. Thus, the red oak borer infestation has the potential to greatly alter the composition of the avifauna of the Ozarks, which may have farreaching implications for many species of neotropical migratory birds.

Keywords: Arkansas, Enaphalodes rufulus, migratory birds, oaks, Ozark Mountains, red oak borer, upland hardwood forests

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Kimberly G. Smith, Frederick M. Stephen 2005. Potential Effects of Large-scale Elimination of Oaks by Red Oak Borers on Breeding Neotropical Migrants in the Ozarks. In: Ralph, C. John; Rich, Terrell D., editors 2005. Bird Conservation Implementation and Integration in the Americas: Proceedings of the Third International Partners in Flight Conference. 2002 March 20-24; Asilomar, California, Volume 1 Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191. Albany, CA: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: p. 312-321

 


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