Winter bird community differences among methods of bottomland hardwood forest restoration: results after seven growing seasons
Forest community restoration in the primarily agricultural landscape of the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV), USA, has been initiated for recreational, economic and biological objectives, including provision of habitat for migratory birds of late successional stands. A long-term demonstration experiment of succession under several afforestation treatments was established at the beginning of the 1995 growing season. Winter bird communities of these plots were sampled using area-search techniques. Abundance and distribution among treatments were compared for a total of 62 bird species observed in winters 1998/1999 to 2001/2002. Four to seven growing seasons after establishment, bird communities in stands of fast-growing trees (Populus deltoides) contained twice as many species as those in treatments involving slower-growing trees. The differences resulted from the addition of generalist forest-canopy-dwelling species to that suite of avian species of early successional habitats. These results confirmed accepted theory that considers vegetation structure to be a primary determinant of bird species occurrence and community composition.