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Comparative Influence of Forest Management and Habitat Structural Factors on the Abundances of Hollow-Nesting Bird Species in Subtropical Australian Eucalypt Forest

Abstract

We examined the impact of single-tree selective logging and fuel reduction burns on the abundance of hollow-nesting bird species at a regional scale in southeastern Queensland, Australia. Data were collected on species abundance and habitat structure of dry sclerophyll production forest at 36 sites with known logging and fire histories. Sixteen bird species were recorded with most being resident, territorial, obligate hollow nesters that used hollows that were either small (<10 cm diameter) or very large (>18 cm diameter). Species densities were typically low, but combinations of two forest management and three habitat structural variables influenced the abundances of eight bird species in different and sometimes conflicting ways. The results suggest that habitat tree management for biodiversity in production forests cannot depend upon habitat structural characteristics alone. Management histories appear to have independent influence (on some bird species) that are distinguishable from their impacts on habitat structure per se. Rather than managing to maximize species abundances to maintain biodiversity, we may be better off managing to avoid extinctions of populations by identifying thresholds of acceptable fluctuations in populations of not only hollow-nesting birds but other forest dependent wildlife relative to scientifically valid forest management and habitat structural surrogates.

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SMYTH, A., Mac NALLY, R. & LAMB, D. Comparative Influence of Forest Management and Habitat Structural Factors on the Abundances of Hollow-Nesting Bird Species in Subtropical Australian Eucalypt Forest. Environmental Management 30, 547–559 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-002-2678-7

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  • KEY WORDS: Timber harvesting; Fire regimes; Cavity-nesting birds; Hierarchical partitioning; Ecologically sustainable forest management