Fuel-Reduction Treatment Effects on Avian Community Structure and Diversity

Authors

  • SARAH R. HURTEAU,

    Corresponding author
    1. United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 2500 S Pine Knoll Drive, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA and Center for Environmental Science and Education, Northern Arizona University, P.O. Box 4071, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
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    • Arizona Game and Fish Department, Research Branch, 506 N Grant Street Suite L, Flagstaff, AZ 86004, USA

  • THOMAS D. SISK,

    1. Center for Environmental Science and Education, Northern Arizona University, P.O. Box 5694, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
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  • WILLIAM M. BLOCK,

    1. United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 2500 S Pine Knoll Drive, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA
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  • BRETT G. DICKSON

    1. Center for Environmental Science and Education, Northern Arizona University, P.O. Box 5694, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
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shurteauagf@qwestoffice.net

Abstract

Abstract: We assessed responses of the breeding bird community to mechanical thinning and prescribed surface fire, alone and in combination, between 2000 and 2006 in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests in northern Arizona, USA. Fuel-reduction treatments did not affect species richness or evenness, and effects on density of 5 commonly detected species varied among species. Populations of some species, such as the western bluebird (Sialia mexicana), increased following burning treatments, whereas others, such as the mountain chickadee (Poecile gambeli), decreased in response to thinning treatments. Our results also identified a temporal response component, where avian community composition and structure changed synchronously on all treatments over time. Given the modest effects these small-scale fuel-reduction treatments had on avian composition and the specific density responses of particular species, our results suggest that land managers should consider implementing prescribed surface fire after thinning projects, where appropriate.

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