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Short-Term Effects of Timber Harvest on Abundance, Territory Characteristics, and Pairing Success of Ovenbirds in Riparian Buffer Strips

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • In managed forests, riparian buffer strips typically are maintained to protect water quality. If properly designed, buffer strips also may act as wildlife reserves. However, forest managers have lacked the information to develop standards for buffer strips to maximize benefits for wildlife species. We assessed the conservation potential of 20-, 100-, and 200-m wide buffers for an area-sensitive songbird in boreal mixed-wood forest in Alberta. We measured abundance, territory characteristics, and pairing success of Ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapillus) at treatment and control lakes one year before and after upland timber harvest. After harvest, Ovenbirds were absent from 20-m buffer strips. Harvesting did not significantly influence abundance or territory size in 100-m or 200-m buffers, although territories generally became narrower. Postharvest territory position did not change in 200-m buffers, but territories in 100-m strips shifted lakeward and included more habitat adjacent to the riparian edge than before harvest. Despite this shift in territory position, males that occupied 100-m strips successfully attracted mates. High availability of regional forest cover may have muted the more pronounced effects of habitat alteration observed in other studies. Our research is among the first to evaluate individual behavioral responses to the creation of forest edges. Our data indicate that 20-m buffer strips do not support breeding Ovenbirds, whereas 100- and 200-m buffers retain Ovenbirds during the year following harvest. Longterm harvest effects may differ from those we monitored and require study, particularly as timber extraction increases in the boreal mixed-wood ecoregion

  • Date created
    2000
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3RV0DB4P
  • License
    This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • J. Daniel Lambert and Susan J. Hannon. (2000). Short-Term Effects of Timber Harvest on Abundance, Territory Characteristics, and Pairing Success of Ovenbirds in Riparian Buffer Strips. The Auk , Vol. 117, No. 3, pp. 687-698