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Songbird response to group selection harvests and clearcuts in a New Hampshire northern hardwood forest


Peter J. Pekins
Christopher D. Neefus



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Northern Research Station


Forest Ecology and Management. 127: 41-54.


Clearcutting creates habitat for many species of early successional songbirds; however, little information is available on bird use of small forest openings created by group selection harvests. Group selection harvests are increasing on the White Mountain National Forest due to negative public response to clearcutting. The objective of this study was to determine if avian species richness and composition differ between clearcut and group selection openings, and between mature stands and the uncut portions of group selection stands. Point count surveys were conducted during the 1992 and 1993 breeding seasons within six study blocks in the White Mountain National Forest, NH. Each block consisted of a clearcut stand, a group selection stand and a mature stand. Species richness per stand was signi?cantly higher in clearcut openings (p = 0.010) than in group selection openings. Forested areas surrounding group selection openings were similar to mature stands in species richness (p = 0.848) and composition. Our data suggest that, relative to avian use, the group selection system does not provide habitat similar to that created by clearcutting in extensive northern hardwood stands. The group selection system appears to retain much of the mature forest bird community while providing for a limited number of early successional bird species. Gradual replacement of clearcutting with group selection harvests could result in reduced avian diversity across large forested tracts.


Costello, Christine A.; Yamasaki, Mariko; Pekins, Peter J.; Leak, William B.; Neefus, Christopher D. 2000. Songbird response to group selection harvests and clearcuts in a New Hampshire northern hardwood forest. Forest Ecology and Management. 127: 41-54.

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