Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub

    Description

    Structural complexity is widely recognized as an inherent characteristic of unmanaged forests critical to their function and resilience, but often reduced in their managed counterparts. Variable retention harvesting (VRH) has been proposed as a way to restore or enhance structural complexity in managed forests, and thereby sustain attendant biodiversity and ecosystem function. Here we examined the decade-long response of diurnal breeding birds to a VRH experiment that, for the first time, incorporated both overstory and shrub layer treatments in red pine (Pinus resinosa) dominated forests in Minnesota, USA. Overstory treatments included dispersed retention, aggregated retention achieved by cutting small (0.1 ha) gaps, aggregated retention achieved by cutting large (0.3 ha) gaps, and an uncut control. A shrub layer treatment of ambient or reduced shrub density was also implemented as a split-plot design in each harvest treatment. We found a consistent increase in bird species richness and abundance with all retention harvest treatments over time compared to the control; species richness was also significantly greater in the large gap-aggregated treatment compared to dispersed and small gap-aggregated retention harvests. Among guilds, foliage-gleaning and shrub- and tree-nesting birds exhibited the strongest positive response to retention harvesting. Species associated with early-successional habitat, forest edges, and shrubs responded most positively to VRH including Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica) and American Restart (S. ruticilla), although late-successional species such as Blackburnian Warbler (S. fusca) and Black-throated Green Warbler (S. virens) also showed positive response. We found few differences due to shrub reduction, and only at the species level: Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) and American Redstart were more abundant in the ambient shrub treatment, whereas Brown Creeper (Certhia americana), Veery (Catharus fuscenscens), and Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) were more abundant with a reduced density of shrubs. Results through the first 10 years following harvest revealed differences in bird response to both VRH and shrub treatment, suggesting that management can result in forested landscapes with bird communities that are species rich, diverse, and abundant.

    Publication Notes

    • 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, shobrla@fs.fed.us 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.

    Citation

    Shea, Eddie L.; Schulte, Lisa A.; Palik, Brian J. 2017. Decade-long bird community response to the spatial pattern of variable retention harvesting in red pine (Pinus resinosa) forests. Forest Ecology and Management. 402: 272-284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2017.07.053.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    Avian, Biodiversity, Complexity, Ecological forestry, Forest management, Minnesota

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/54794