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Keywords:

  • Riparian woodlands;
  • River;
  • Corridor;
  • Birds

Abstract

Communities of nesting birds were studied in four distinct biotopes within the alluvial corridor of the River Garonne: 50 terrace woodlands, 17 riparian woodlands, one poplar plantation, and one slope woodland. A total of 400 stations were investigated, consisting of eight distinct classes of forest size for the terrace woodlands and four for the riparian woodlands. The distribution of 64 species of birds, observed by means of 20 minute listening point surveys, was related to three main factors: forest size, site wetness, and the wooded space marginality (forests, woods, copses, hedges, trees).

Indices of mean richness and of mean abundance show that the riparian woodlands were the richest and the most densely populated. The surface area of woodlands has a strong effect on the structure of the bird community on terraces but less in the riparian environment.

Multivariate analysis contrasted the species from the open islands within closed environments with the species from the closed islands within an open environment. The effect upon the nesting bird communities of the fragmentation of the original forest within the alluvial corridor of the River Garonne is demonstrated by a grouping of two characteristics: the connectivity of the riparian woodlands and the insularity of the terrace woodlands. The conservation of a continuous ribbon of riparian woodlands is shown to be an important condition for maintaining a rich community of nesting birds.