Little is known about factors that structure biodiversity on landscape scales, yet current land management protocols, such as forest certification programs, place an increasing emphasis on managing for sustainable biodiversity at landscape scales. We used a replicated landscape study to evaluate relationships between forest structure and avian diversity at both stand and landscape-levels. We used data on bird communities collected under comparable sampling protocols on four managed forests located across the Southeastern US to develop logistic regression models describing relationships between habitat factors and the distribution of overall richness and richness of selected guilds. Landscape models generated for eight of nine guilds showed a strong relationship between richness and both availability and configuration of landscape features. Diversity of topographic features and heterogeneity of forest structure were primary determinants of avian species richness. Forest heterogeneity, in both age and forest type, were strongly and positively associated with overall avian richness and richness for most guilds. Road density was associated positively but weakly with avian richness. Landscape variables dominated all models generated, but no consistent patterns in metrics or scale were evident. Model fit was strong for neotropical migrants and relatively weak for short-distance migrants and resident species. Our models provide a tool that will allow managers to evaluate and demonstrate quantitatively how management practices affect avian diversity on landscapes.
Mitchell, Michael S.; Rutzmoser, Scott H.; Wigley, T. Bently; Loehle, Craig; Gerwin, John A.; Keyser, Patrick D.; Lancia, Richard A.; Perry, Roger W.; Reynolds, Christopher L.; Thill, Ronald E.; Weih, Robert; White, Don; Wood, Petra Bohall. 2006. Relationships between avian richness and landscape structure at multiple scales using multiple landscapes. Forest Ecology and Management. 221(1-3): 155-169.