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Keywords:

  • bird communities;
  • establishment;
  • habitat;
  • herbicide;
  • pine plantations;
  • site preparation;
  • snags

Abstract

Pine (Pinus spp.) plantations are a common type of managed forest in the southeastern United States that may supply habitat for early successional bird species, many of which are declining. To provide information about young pine plantations as bird habitat, we evaluated spring bird presence in 5 combinations of stand establishment practices during years 2 through 5 post-establishment in the Lower Coastal Plain of Mississippi, USA. We detected 38 species with point counts and compared bird metrics among establishment practices using mixed general linear models. Species richness, total relative abundance, and relative abundance of many species were greater by at least a factor of 1.5–4 in the chemical-only establishment practice than mechanically prepared establishment practices, and values declined by about 5–60% within mechanically prepared establishment practices as herbicide intensity increased. Tree and snag retention contributed to avian abundance and richness in the chemical-only establishment practice. Our study, in conjunction with past research, demonstrated the conservation value to early successional bird species of managed pine stands established with tree retention, indicating that silvicultural and wildlife habitat objectives can be met within the range of stand establishment treatments available to managers. © 2012 The Wildlife Society.