, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 750-758

Effects of Logged and Unlogged Forest Patches on Avifaunal Diversity

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Abstract

In the Hyrcanian forests of northern Iran, reduced-impact silviculture systems, (single-tree and group-tree selection) were applied over a large area, which generated different local habitat structures. The aim of this study was to assess the differences between treated and untreated areas of forest and their effect on avian richness, abundance and diversity (R.A.D). Birds were surveyed during the breeding season in 2009 by 100-point counts, equally distributed in the treated and untreated area. Avian R.A.D was significantly different and higher in the untreated area. Generally, forestry practices cause noticeable changes in canopy percentage, tree composition, snags and shrub number. Treated forest habitats in the area of study had a much more developed understory, fewer snags and fewer large diameter trees. The results highlighted the importance of forest maturity and showed that preventing silvicultural disturbances may not be the best solution for conserving and enhancing biodiversity. Rather, methods such as selective cutting seem an appropriate and sustainable way of forest management. It is suggested that forests should be managed to conserve structural elements which create favorable habitat for bird species, preventing future species losses due to logging practices.