Skip to Main Content
Modeling the ecological trap hypothesis: a habitat and demographic analysis for migrant songbirdsAuthor(s): Therese M. Donovan; Frank R, III Thompson
Source: Ecological Applications, 11(3), 2001, pp. 871-882
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: North Central Research Station
PDF: View PDF (169.59 KB)
DescriptionMost species occupy both high- and low-quality habitats throughout their ranges. As habitats become modified through anthropogenic change, low-quality habitat may become a more dominant component of the landscape for some species. To conserve species, information on how to assess habitat quality and guidelines for maintaining or eliminating low-quality habitats are needed. We developed a source-sink population model that depicted the annual cycle of a generalized migratory songbird to address these questions. We determined how demographic factors, landscape composition (the percentage of highand low-quality habitat), and habitat selection interacted to promote population persistence or extirpation. Demographic parameters, including adult and juvenile survival, nesting success (probability of a nest successfully fledging one or more young), number of nesting attempts, and number of young fledged per nest, interacted to affect population growth. In general, population growth was more sensitive to adult and juvenile survival than to fecundity. Nevertheless, within typically observed survival values, nest success was important in determining whether the population increased, decreased, or was stable. Moreover, the number of nest attempts by females and the number of young fledged per nesting attempt influenced population stability. This highlights the need to obtain more complete demographic data on species than simple nest success to assess habitat quality. When individuals selected high- and low-quality habitats in proportion to habitat availability, populations persisted as long as low-quality habitat did not make up >40% of the landscapes. However, when individuals preferred low-quality habitats over high-quality habitats, populations were extirpated in landscapes with >30% low-quality habitat because low-quality habitat functioned as an ecological trap, displacing individuals from high-quality to low-quality habitat. For long-term conservation, we emphasize the need for basic information on habitat selection and life-history characteristics of species throughout their range.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationDonovan, Therese M.; Thompson , Frank R, III. 2001. Modeling the ecological trap hypothesis: a habitat and demographic analysis for migrant songbirds. Ecological Applications, 11(3), 2001, pp. 871-882
Keywordsecological trap, habitat quality, landscape management, neotropical migrant songbirds, population demography, population dynamics, source-sink
- Post-fledging survival in passerine birds and the value of post-fledging studies to conservation
- Spotted Towhee population dynamics in a riparian restoration context
- Cerulean warbler reproduction, survival, and models of population decline
XML: View XML