Using banding data to assess the use of 100-meter-wide habitat corridors by breeding landbirds, in an intensively managed pine landscape.

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Title: Using banding data to assess the use of 100-meter-wide habitat corridors by breeding landbirds, in an intensively managed pine landscape.
Author: Klimstra, Jon David
Advisors: Dr. Ted Simmons, Committee Member
Dr. Phil Doerr, Committee Member
Dr. Ken Pollock, Committee Member
Dr. Richard Lancia, Committee Chair
Abstract: Six-years of banding data were analyzed from an intensively managed pine plantation in the Lower Coastal Plain of South Carolina on land owned by Mead Westvaco. The focus of the six-year study was to determine if the installed corridors were providing habitat throughout the overall landscape that would be beneficial to breeding landbirds. To address this question, avian productivity and abundance were monitored using nest searching, point counts, territory mapping, and mist netting. The objectives of my study, based on banding data, were to see how birds were using the corridors versus the adjacent stands. There were 4 sites in the control (Ashley) and 3 in the experimental (Edisto). Sites had a corridor and adjacent stand. Corridors were not 'installed' in the control, however in the experimental corridor 'installation' began in 1993 as part of MeadWestvacos' Multiple-Use Ecosystem-Based Management Plan. Planned and installed corridors made up approximately 25% of the MeadWestvaco land base. In both districts stands were predominantly loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) with interspersed hardwood stands and gum ponds. Adjacent stands were managed on a 20-25 year rotation while corridor rotation time was double that of the adjacent stand. Birds were captured in mist nets and banded from 1995 through 2000. Banding was conducted from early April till mid-July all six years. Sampling followed a standard mist netting protocol. Vegetation data were collected for all stands in 1999. Based on cluster analysis and Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) for vegetation and bird assemblages, most of the experimental sites grouped together as did the control sites. Sycamore corridor (experimental) and Sandy Hill hardwood (control) were distinctly different from other stands. Both stands were older (50(+) and 32 years, respectively) and both had a large hardwood component. Avian abundance was higher in the corridors for the experimental district (p < 0.0001). Control and experimental districts showed no significant differences between corridors and no significant differences between adjacent stands. Experimental corridors had a higher Shannon-Weaver (H') index than did any of the other stands, while control adjacent stands had the highest evenness value of all stands. While not statistically significant, corridors had higher catches of Hatch Year birds for the Carolina Wren, Hooded Warbler, and Common Yellowthroat. Relative abundance for the top ten species was calculated. Many of the ten most abundant species occurred in both the adjacent and corridor stands in both the control and experimental districts. Species with the highest relative abundance in the experimental corridors were more early-successional species whereas species with high relative abundance in the control were more mid-successional species. Finally, apparent annual survival for six species was estimated: Acadian Flycatcher, Hooded Warbler, White-eyed Vireo, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Cardinal, and Carolina Wren. Apparent survival was estimated using program MARK with the Cormack-Jolly-Seber (CJS) model. Apparent survival ranged from 0.30 for the Acadian Flycatcher to 0.54 for the Northern Cardinal. Models for the Acadian Flycatcher, Hooded Warbler, and Carolina Wren all had small confidence intervals indicating a more precise estimate than those of the Cardinal and Common Yellowthroat. Migrants and residents had similar survival rates and were within ranges reported in the literature. Abundance and species diversity was higher in corridors along with catches of HY birds. Based on relative abundance corridors in the experimental had early-successional species while corridors in the control had mid-successional species. Apparent survival rates for four Neotropical migrants and two residents indicate that estimates are within ranges reported in the literature.
Date: 2003-04-15
Degree: M
Discipline: Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences

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