, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 67-93

Relationships of Human Disturbance, Bird Communities, and Plant Communities Along the Land-Water Interface of a Large Reservoir

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Abstract

We examined the relationships of humanactivity, bird communities, and plant communities along theland-water interface of Lake Texoma, a large human-madereservoir on the Texas-Oklahoma border. Measurements ofhuman activity, plant surveys, and bird surveys wereperformed at 40 paired transects, one with humandisturbance, the other undisturbed. Both principalcomponents and correspondence analyses of bird-survey dataseparated disturbed sites from paired undisturbed sites, andtypical disturbance-tolerant species from those lesstolerant of human activity. Compared to undisturbed sites,disturbed sites tended to have more individual birds persurvey, pavement, and mowed lawns, and less canopy,vegetation volume, and vegetation vertical diversity. Aprincipal components analysis of quantitative disturbancemeasurements revealed that most bird and plant measures werehighly correlated with the first disturbance component. However, the correlation between birds and human activitywas much stronger than that between birds and plants, orbetween plants and disturbance. Our data suggest that bird-species composition is regulated more by human activity thanby plant-community composition. Also, in this system, birdcommunities are a better choice than plant communities toindex the effect of human disturbance. To maintain regionaldiversity of both birds and plants, undisturbed areas shouldbe maintained around reservoirs.