Skip to Main Content
Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea) response to operational silviculture in the central Appalachian regionAuthor(s): Gretchen E. Nareff; Petra B. Wood; Donald J. Brown; Todd Fearer; Jeffery L. Larkin; W. Mark. Ford
Source: Forest Ecology and Management
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
View PDF (4.0 MB)
DescriptionThe Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea) is a species of conservation need, with declines linked in part to forest habitat loss on its breeding grounds. Active management of forests benefit the Cerulean Warbler by creating the complex structural conditions preferred by the species, but further research is needed to determine optimal silvicultural strategies. We quantified and compared the broad-scale influence of timber harvests within central Appalachian hardwood forests on estimated abundance and territory density of Cerulean Warblers. We conducted point counts at seven study areas across three states within the central Appalachian region (West Virginia [n=4], Kentucky [n=1], Virginia [n=2]) and territory mapping at two of the study areas in West Virginia, pre- and post-harvest, for up to five breeding seasons from 2013 to 2017. Our primary objective was to relate change in abundance to topographic and vegetation metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of current Cerulean Warbler habitat management guidelines. We used single-species hierarchical (N-mixture) models to estimate abundance while accounting for detection biases. Pre-harvest mean basal area among study areas was 29.3m2/ ha. Harvesting reduced mean basal area among study areas by 40% (mean 17.2m2/ha) at harvest interior and harvest edge points. Territory density increased 100% (P = 0.003) from pre-harvest to two years post-harvest. Cerulean Warbler abundance increased with increasing percentage of basal area that comprised tree species preferred for foraging and nesting (i.e., white oak species, sugar maple [Acer saccharum], hickories) or of largediameter trees (≥40.6 cm diameter at breast height). Positive population growth was predicted to occur where these vegetation metrics were > 50% of residual basal area. Post-harvest abundance at harvest interior points was greater than at reference points and when accounting for years-post-harvest in modeling abundance, Cerulean Warbler abundance increased at harvest interior and reference points two years post-harvest and subsequently decreased three years post-harvest. Modeled abundance remained the same at harvest edge points. Increases in abundance and territory density were greater in stands with low pre-harvest densities (< 2 birds/point or < 0.40 territory/ha) of Cerulean Warblers, whereas populations within stands with higher densities preharvest had minimal changes in abundance and territory density. Overall, our results indicate that harvests preharvest had minimal changes in abundance and territory density. Overall, our results indicate that harvests based on the Cerulean Warbler Management Guidelines for Enhancing Breeding Habitat in Appalachian Hardwood Forests, at all available slope positions and aspects where pre-harvest densities are < 0.40 territory/ha, may provide breeding habitat for Cerulean Warblers for at least two years post-harvest in the central Appalachian region.
- 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, email@example.com 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.
CitationNareff, Gretchen E.; Wood, Petra B.; Brown, Donald J.; Fearer, Todd; Larkin, Jeffery L.; Ford, W. Mark. 2019. Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea) response to operational silviculture in the central Appalachian region. Forest Ecology and Management. 448: 409-423. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2019.05.062.
KeywordsCerulean Warbler, Silviculture, N-mixture, Forest bird management, Upland hardwood forest
- Population dynamics of sugar maple through the southern portion of its range: implications for range migration
- Widespread sugar maple decline and regeneration failure in the Adirondacks
- Effect of Sugar Maple Root Exudate on Seedlings of Northern Conifer Species
XML: View XML