Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 6, Issue 8, pp 1155–1173

Disturbance, selective logging and bird diversity: a Neotropical forest study


DOI: 10.1023/A:1018388202698

Cite this article as:
THIOLLAY, JM. Biodiversity and Conservation (1997) 6: 1155. doi:10.1023/A:1018388202698


The composition and structure of bird communities, and the damage to forest structure were surveyed in northern French Guiana (northeastern Amazonia) one year and ten years after selective logging and compared with the situation in a similar undisturbed primary forest. A point-count method was used in which 937 0.25ha sample plots were censused for 20 minutes each, and their vegetation structure was measured. On average, 38% of the forest undergrowth was destroyed, then invaded by dense regrowth, and up to 63% of the canopy was substantially opened as a result of selective logging. Hunting pressure also increased due to access roads opened for logging. Among the 256 species recorded, overall bird species richness and abundance were depressed by 27–34% in the logged areas compared to primary forest. The most vulnerable guilds, which decreased by 37–98% in abundance, were mature forest understorey species, especially terrestrial ones and mixed flocks of insectivores. Hummingbirds, small gaps, vine tangles and canopy species did not decrease, nor increase significantly after logging. Only species naturally associated with dense second growth, forest edges and large gaps actually increased. Habitat specialization was the major determinant of vulnerability to logging, and, to a lesser degree, size (large) and diet (insectivorous), but foraging behaviour and rarity had little effect. Bird sensitivity to changes in logged forest structure may involve physiological intolerance, reduced food categories, increased exposure to predators, too dense understorey for their specific foraging behaviour and/or avoidance of gaps. Suggested improvements of current forest management and logging techniques for the maintenance of a higher proportion of the original biodiversity include minimizing logging damages, long rotations (>50 years) between cuts, and keeping unlogged forest patches within logging concessions.

disturbancediversitybird communityrain forestlogging

Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall 1997

Authors and Affiliations

    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d'Ecologie, E.N.S.Paris Cedex 05France