Landscape Ecology

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 59-73

First online:

Effects of patch size, isolation and regional abundance on forest bird communities

  • D. van DorpAffiliated withDepartment of Landscape Ecology, Research Institute for Nature Management
  • , P. F. M. OpdamAffiliated withDepartment of Landscape Ecology, Research Institute for Nature Management

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The aim of this study was to assess the impact of isolation on forest bird communities in agricultural landscapes in The Netherlands. We studied the avifauna of 235 small (0.1–39 ha) woodlots composed of mature deciduous trees in 1984–1985. These woodlots were selected in the eastern and central/southern part of the country within 22 regions showing great differences in landscape structure,i.e., degree of isolation. Multiple regression analysis indicated that woodlot size was the best single predictor of species number and probability of occurrence of most species. It turned out that the isolation variables, area of wood, number of woods, interpatch distance, and proximity and density of connecting elements, explained small but significant parts of the residual variances in species number. No single species was significantly affected by the density of connecting elements. Biogeographical differences between two groups of regions were emphasized. Evidence of four woodland species suggested that regional abundance affected the probability of occurrence in small isolates.


birds patch rural landscape forest fragmentation connectivity