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Title: Effects of Exurban Development and Temperature on Bird Species in the Southern Appalachians

Author: Lumpkin, Heather A.; Pearson, Scott M.;

Date: 2013

Source: Conservation Biology

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Land-use dynamics and climatic gradients have large effects on many terrestrial systems. Exurban development, one of the fastest growing forms of land use in the United States, may affect wildlife through habitat fragmentation and building presence may alter habitat quality. We studied the effects of residential development and temperature gradients on bird species occurrence at 140 study sites in the southern Appalachian Mountains (North Carolina, U.S.A.) that varied with respect to building density and elevation. We used occupancy models to determine 36 bird species' associations with building density, forest canopy cover, average daily mean temperature, and an interaction between building density and mean temperature. Responses varied with habitat requirement, breeding range, and migration distance. Building density and mean temperature were both included in the top occupancy models for 19 of 36 species and a building density by temperature interaction was included in models for 8 bird species. As exurban development expands in the southern Appalachians, interior forest species and Neotropical migrants are likely to decline, but shrubland or edge species are not likely to benefit. Overall, effects of building density were greater than those of forest canopy cover. Exurban development had a greater effect on birds at high elevations due to a greater abundance of sensitive forest-interior species and Neotropical migrants. A warming climate may exacerbate these negative effects.

Keywords: avian communities, Blue Ridge Mountains, building density, elevation, forest canopy cover, land use, single-season occupancy model

Publication Notes:

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Lumpkin, Heather A.; Pearson, Scott M. 2013. Effects of Exurban Development and Temperature on Bird Species in the Southern Appalachians. Conservation Biology. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12085.


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