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Title: Accommodating Birds in Managed Forests of North America: A Review of Bird-Forestry Relationships

Author: Sallabanks, Rex; Arnett, Edward B.;

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. 345-372

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

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

Description: Managed forests of North America provide important breeding and wintering habitat for many bird species. It is therefore essential that we understand all aspects of bird-forestry relationships if forest managers are to balance the needs of birds with timber harvest objectives. To help meet this need, here we provide a review of 116 research articles, dating from 1960 to 2002, which have examined bird-forestry relationships in managed forests across North America. We emphasize patterns in response of birds to silviculture, discuss how forestry practices might be used to enhance habitat for birds, synthesize management recommendations, and offer suggestions for future research. The majority of studies reviewed occurred in northeastern (27 percent) or northwestern (19 percent) North America. Clearcutting (72 percent of studies) has been examined more than any other silvicultural technique. Studies have primarily focused on breeding songbirds (67 percent) and have mostly collected data on relative avian abundance (65 percent); avian demographics (e.g., nest success or productivity) have rarely been studied (13 percent). The response of birds to forestry practices has been mixed and highly species-specific, but in general, net change in community richness following timber harvest was negligible. Among silvicultural practices, uneven-aged management (e.g., selection harvest) appears to be the most favorable for birds. In contrast, snag removal was highly deleterious, with >80 percent of studies reporting net species loss; net gain was never reported. Short-term effects (0?5 years) were more commonly found than no effect, with bird population decreases being reported more often than increases. In contrast, long-term effects (10+ years) were mostly negligible, but when effects were identified, they tended to be more beneficial than deleterious. Reports of severe deleterious effects were both rare and temporary. Causal mechanisms that might drive observed patterns between birds and forestry were deductively inferred in 72 percent of studies. Management recommendations were not made in the majority of cases (69 percent). Our review suggests that opportunities to enhance habitat for birds through forestry will vary from species to species. Management objectives, in addition to being compatible with ownership objectives, should be prioritized based upon those bird species that are sensitive to forestry and showing sharp declines. Future research on bird-forestry relationships needs to be more mechanistic, manipulative, and long-term. What is ultimately needed are resourceful ways to integrate stand- and landscape-level features created by forestry with those required by birds for sustained avian population health and viability.

Keywords: causal mechanisms, cavity-nesting birds, community response, forest management, forestry practices, research needs, silviculture, songbirds, timber harvest

Publication Notes:

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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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Sallabanks, Rex; Arnett, Edward B. 2005. Accommodating Birds in Managed Forests of North America: A Review of Bird-Forestry Relationships. 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. 345-372

 


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