Neotropical Migratory Bird Communities in a Developing Pine Plantation

Birds were censused annually from 4 250- x 80-m transects in a young pine plantation from age 2 to 17 to assess changes in the bird community. Bird abundance was low and the bird community was the least diverse when the pine plantation was sparsely vegetated at age 2. As the plantation developed rapidly into the shrub stage, the bird community became more abundant and diverse. Bird abundance increased consistently until plantation age 6, but then declined as the pine canopy closed and shaded out lower deciduous vegetation. Bird species diversity increased gradually during the early years, was highest at plantation age 10 and 11, then decreased. In the latter stages (age 12-17) early successional avian species were virtually gone, a few shrub-associated species persisted, and some species associated with older stands had invaded the plantation. The bird community in this latter canopy-closure stage, was related directly to the presence of hardwood shrubs and trees in the pine-dominated stand.

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