Silviculture for a declining species, Cerulean Warbler: 10-year results of a pilot study in the Mississippi Alluvial ValleyThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
We report on the current status of a long-term study of Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea) response to silviculture on a 58-ha tract in Desha County, Arkansas. The work involved a 10 year premanipulation monitoring of the birds on the tract, followed by implementation of a split plot comparison of alternative treatments, each applied to a randomly selected half of the original plot. We present results of the alternative treatments on warbler species occurrence, distribution and standing crop of canopy and subcanopy trees, and composition and abundance of advanced regeneration resulting from the manipulation applied in 2002-2004. Basal areas in the area managed by the Cerulean Warbler prescription were higher than those in area managed by a standard prescription. Advanced regeneration did not meet company standards for favored species on nearly 2/3 of the company treated area and almost 90 percent of the area treated with the Cerulean Warbler prescription. Interpretation of these values was complicated by lingering effects of a devastating 1994 ice storm. This necessarily unreplicated study serves as a pilot for later evaluation of a Cerulean Warbler silvicultural treatment. It is a cautionary tale because continuing decline of the Cerulean Warbler population introduces an unknown amount of uncertainty into interpretation of the response of the birds to the experimental manipulation; no Cerulean Warblers were recorded on the plot in the most recent survey. The study provides a basis to consider trade-offs in management for a resource that may be dominated by extra-ownership effects beyond the manager’s control or manipulation.