Skip common site navigation and headers
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Exposure Research
Begin Hierarchical Links EPA Home > Research & Development > Exposure Research > Publications/Presentations > End Hierarchical Links

 

Bird Communities and Habitat as Ecological Indicators of Forest Condition in Regional Monitoring

spacer
spacer
Abstract:Ecological indicators for long-term monitoring programs are needed to detect and assess changing environmental conditions, We developed and tested community-level environmental indicators for monitoring forest bird populations and associated habitat. We surveyed 197 sampling plots in loblolly-shortleaf pine forests, spanning and area from Georgia to Virginia (U.S.A.) and representing a gradient in levels of anthropogenic disturbance. Ninety of these plots were randomly selected from a sampling grid, permitting quantitative assessment of cumulative distribution functions for bird community and habitat parameters. Species were independently classified into habitat assemblages indicating birds typical of disturbed habitat (e.g., shrubland, forest edge) and undisturbed habitat (mature forest). Relative abundances of these assemblages were used to form a bird community index-similar to the index of biotic integrity applied to aquatic systems-showing the effects of habitat disturbance on forest bird communities. Bird communities on the majority of the sample area (52-75%, 90% confidence interval) were dominated by disturbance-tolerant species. Sites dominated by mature forest species were comparatively uncommon. Habitat assemblages appeared to be particularly useful tools for environmental monitoring; individual species abundance was positively correlated with assemblage species richness, and assemblage members showed consistent responses to variations in disturbance level. To a lesser extent, component species of nesting guilds showed this pattern of cohesive responses, but those of foraging guilds did not. We also developed a habitat index based on habitat variables that predicted bird community index values. Habitat and bird community indices were strongly correlated in an independent validation dataset, suggesting that the habitat index can provide a reliable predictor of bird community status.
spacer
Citation:Canterbury, G. E., T. E. Martin, D. R. Petit, L. J. Petit, and D. F. Bradford. Bird Communities and Habitat as Ecological Indicators of Forest Condition in Regional Monitoring. CONSERVATION BIOLOGY 14(2):544 - 558, (2000).
spacer
spacer
Contact: Chris Siebert - (702) 798-2234 or siebert.christopher@epa.gov
spacer
Division: Environmental Sciences Division
spacer
Branch: Landscape Ecology Branch
spacer
Product Type: Journal
spacer
Published: 04/22/2000
spacer
spacer

 

ORD Home | Search EPA | Search NERL | Search EIMS | Contacts | Help

 
Begin Site Footer

EPA Home | Privacy and Security Notice | Contact Us

Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
URL: http://cfpub.epa.gov