Ecological - Second Order
Fire & Wildlife
In coniferous forests of western North American, fire is an important disturbance that influences the structure and composition of floral and faunal communities. The impacts of postfire management, including salvage logging and replanting, on these forests are not well known. We compared densities and relative abundances of forest birds after fire in unsalvaged stands and stands subjected to one of two intensities of salvage logging (moderate, 30 snags retained per ha and heavy, 5–6 snags retained per ha) in mixed-conifer forests in central Oregon. We used analysis of variance with repeated measures to evaluate three hypotheses concerning the influence of different intensities of salvage on densities or relative abundances of sixteen species of birds, and two hypotheses concerning the influence of time since salvage logging on relative abundances or densities of birds. We also examined the relationship between vegetation and abundances of each bird species. We did not detect significant differences among treatments in densities or relative abundances for eight species and one genus of birds. We detected significant differences for seven species, though the patterns differed among species. Relative abundances or densities of the black-backed woodpecker (Picoides arcticus), hairy woodpecker (P. villosus), brown creeper (Certhia americana), western wood-pewee (Contopus sordidulus) and yellow-rumped warbler (Dendroica coronata) were lower in the heavy and moderate salvage treatment compared to the unsalvaged treatment, while densities of the dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis) and fox sparrow (Passerella iliaca) were greater in the moderately and heavily salvaged stands than in the unsalvaged treatment. We detected significant differences between years for four species of birds. Our findings suggest that both cavity-nesting and cup-nesting species respond to salvage logging, and that some species respond uniquely to habitat features influenced by salvage logging. For species that responded negatively to salvage logging, the moderate salvage intensity did not appear to mitigate the negative influence of salvage logging. Areas of unlogged burned forest appear to provide important habitat for some species of birds following forest fires. Our findings parallel those of other recent studies of these species, suggesting robust patterns that transcend particular locations.