Utilization of Avian Community Parameters for the Evaluation of Forest Management Practices on a Contiguous Wildlife Refuge and Forest Service Land Base

Certain species of neotropical migrant songbirds have been decreasing in abundance throughout their breeding range for prolonged periods and a cause of immediate concern. Information on the extent of changes in habitats caused by land management practices and use of such habitats by forest bird communities is critical for management. This study was designed in order to establish a long-term system for avian population monitoring at Tombigbee National Forest and Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge located in north central Mississippi. Avian communities were used to evaluate the impact of differing intensities of forest management practices on select individual breeding species and summer avian community parameters within hardwood, pine, and pine hardwood habitat types of differing age classes. Total bird abundance, total bird conservation value, species richness, and Shannon-Wiener diversity differed between the study sites within the hardwood habitat type. Pine immature saw-timber stands were found to have higher total bird abundance, total bird conservation value, and species richness than all pine age class combinations. Also species richness differed among the two study sites pine hardwood age class combinations. Percent ground cover organic litter, visual obscurity 0.1-1.83 m, percent canopy coverage, dominant tree height, and number of snags were determined to be important habitat variables in predicting species richness, total bird abundance, and total bird conservation value.

Publication date
Starting page