Breeding Bird Community Changes in a Bald Cypress-tupelo Wetland Following Timber Harvesting

We determined immediate impacts of clearcutting on breeding bird communities of a tidally-influenced bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)-tupelo (Nyssa spp.) wetland located in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, Baldwin County, Alabama, April-June 1987. Seventeen of 45 species detected in first-year clearcuts, forestclearcut edges, and 70-year-old reference stands demonstrated significant (P <0.05) differences in abundance across habitat type. Three species preferred forest interior, 5 preferred edge, 7 preferred interior and edge over clearcut, and 1 preferred clearcut and edge (P <0.05). Species richness (S) from known sample size decreased from edge (36) to forest interior (27) to clearcut (21). Twice as many detections were made in a clearcut with snags retained, as in a more complete clearcut. We recommend retention of snags and den trees, especially relict bald cypress, within clearcuts and implementation of silvicultural practices that promote early and vigorous reforestation of these ecosystems.

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