Effects of Selection Logging on Birds in Northern Belize1


  • 1

    Received 15 November 1995; revision accepted 1 May 1997.

Corresponding author.


We compared bird diversity and frequency in selection logged and unlogged forest to determine the effects of recent selection logging on avian biodiversity in a subtropical, moist evergreen forest. We used a combination of mist netting and fixed-radius point counts to assess bird communities in February and March 1993 in northwestern Belize. Vegetation structure and composition was similar in logged and unlogged forest. The 66 most common species occurred with statistically similar frequency in logged and unlogged forest although 13 species were two times more frequent in intact forest. Numbers of total bird species were similar between logging gaps and the logged forest matrix, and between the logged forest matrix and unlogged forests. A comparison of numbers of species in 26 guilds based on migration strategy, diet, foraging substrate, and height strata also showed them to be similar regardless of logging history. Our results differed from previous studies that reported lower bird species richness and abundance of individual species in logged tropical forests than in unlogged forest. The differences might be explained by the lower logging intensity and/or greater levels of natural disturbance in our study area compared to previous studies.