, Volume 98, Issue 3–4, pp 393–401 | Cite as

Tolerance to habitat fragmentation influences the colonization of new habitat by forest birds

  • Marc-André Villard
  • Philip D. Taylor
Original Paper


We examined the relationship between the ability of bird species to persist in fragmented forests and their ability to colonize new forest habitat. Using a long-term data set on the colonization of a forest plantation, we tested the hypothesis that bird species tolerant to habitat fragmentation would detect and colonize the new habitat faster than intolerant species. The forest plantation under study is situated on an area of land reclaimed from the sea (a polder) in the central part of The Netherlands. We constructed an index of tolerance to habitat fragmentation and included it as a predictor variable in a set of three logistic regression models that compared the probability of colonization over four consecutive time periods. After controlling statistically for the effects of regional incidence, preferred habitat and life-history characteristics, there was a significant effect of tolerance to fragmentation on the ability of species to colonize the plantation, and a marginal effect on the timing of colonization. We then examined the effect of the same index of tolerance to fragmentation on colonization patterns over a larger spatial scale. Multivariate regression models showed that the proportion of three polders of different ages occupied by forest bird species was dependent upon the regional incidence of a species, its preferred habitat and its tolerance to fragmentation. The results support the hypothesis that species tolerant to habitat fragmentation detect and colonize new habitat faster than those intolerant to habitat fragmentation.

Key words

Connectivity Dispersal Logistic regression Landscape ecology Netherlands Polders 


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Copyright information

© Springer Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc-André Villard
    • 1
  • Philip D. Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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