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Title: Bird communities and environmental correlates in southern Oregon and northern California, USA

Author: Stephens, Jaime L.; Dinger, Eric C.; Alexander, John D.; Mohren, Sean R.; Ralph, C. John; Sarr, Daniel A.;

Date: 2016

Source: PLOS ONE. 11(10): e0163906

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: We examined avian community ecology in the Klamath Ecoregion and determined that individual bird species co-exist spatially to form 29 statistically distinguishable bird groups. We identified climate, geography, and vegetation metrics that are correlated with these 29 bird groups at three scales: Klamath Ecoregion, vegetation formation (agriculture, conifer, mixed conifer/hardwood, shrubland), and National Park Service unit. Two climate variables (breeding season mean temperature and temperature range) and one geography variable (elevation) were correlated at all scales, suggesting that for some vegetation formations and park units there is sufficient variation in climate and geography to be an important driver of bird communities, a level of variation we expected only at the broader scale. We found vegetation to be important at all scales, with coarse metrics (environmental site potential and existing vegetation formation) meaningful across all scales and structural vegetation patterns (e.g. succession, disturbance) important only at the scale of vegetation formation or park unit. Additionally, we examined how well six National Park Service units represent bird communities in the broader Klamath Ecoregion. Park units are inclusive of most bird communities with the exception of the oak woodland community; mature conifer forests are well represented, primarily associated with conifer canopy and lacking multi-layered structure. Identifying environmental factors that shape bird communities at three scales within this region is important; such insights can inform local and regional land management decisions necessary to ensure bird conservation in this globally significant region.

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Stephens, Jaime L.; Dinger, Eric C.; Alexander, John D.; Mohren, Sean R.; Ralph, C. John; Sarr, Daniel A. 2016. Bird communities and environmental correlates in southern Oregon and northern California, USA. PLOS ONE. 11(10): e0163906.

 


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