Environmental Management

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 681–688 | Cite as

Guild management: an evaluation of avian guilds as a predictive tool

  • Robert C. Szaro


The use and applicability of the guild concept to management is evaluated and questioned. Ecological problems are never as simple as implied in using one or two guild axes. A close examination of bird communities in a ponderosa pine forest reveals little relationship between guilds or guild blocks and the responses exhibited by individual bird species or bird species groups. Response guilds changed from year to year without any obvious changes in vegetation. A three-year composite analysis shows a clearer picture of the responses of ponderosa pine forest birds to the overall interactions between structure, weather, competition, and so on. The six response groups in the composite analysis are species that (1) were absent in 1973 on most or all study plots and showed no preference for any forested site; (2) had their highest densities on the medium cut and light cut plots; (3) were absent in 1973 on most or all study plots and had their highest densities on the medium cut and light cut plots; (4) had their highest densities on the untreated, light cut, and medium cut plots; (5) had their highest densities on the untreated and light cut plots and were either absent or had greatly reduced densities on all other plots; and (6) were present only on the clearcut, except for the Rock Wren which was also on the medium cut and heavy cut plots. The overall correlation between species density and guild density was significantly higher for response guilds (α <0.05) than for any of the structural or functional guilds. The whole concept of guild management needs much more research and development before it can be recommended as a management tool.

Key words

Guild concept Birds Environmental assessment Impact predictions 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert C. Szaro
    • 1
  1. 1.Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station Forestry Sciences LaboratoryArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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