Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 1545–1575

Comparison of Bird Communities in Primary vs. Young Secondary Tropical Montane Cloud Forest in Guatemala

  • Swen C Renner
  • Matthias Waltert
  • Michael Mühlenberg
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10531-005-2930-6

Cite this article as:
Renner, S.C., Waltert, M. & Mühlenberg, M. Biodivers Conserv (2006) 15: 1545. doi:10.1007/s10531-005-2930-6

Abstract

Cloud forests in central Guatemala are fragmented and decreasing in area due to slash-and-burn agricultural activities. We studied bird species composition, abundance, guild composition, and site tenacity of a 102 ha plot located in a cloud forest region of the Sierra Yalijux in Guatemala, half of which was primary forest and half young secondary forest (<7-years-old). Of the 100 species present 14 were restricted to the Endemic Bird Area ‘Northern Central American highlands’ (i.e. 66% of a total of 21 endemics). Five of the 100 analysed species, including one of the restricted-range species (Troglodytes rufociliatus), had a significantly different abundance in primary and secondary forests. Theoretical analysis suggests that seven species out of a community comprised of 141 bird species are already extirpated and only three out of the 14 present restricted-range species might survive the current state of deforestation. Insectivores were the dominant guild on the plot in terms of numbers of species, followed by omnivores, frugivores and granivores. However, in terms of individuals, omnivores made up nearly half of the bird individuals in primary forest, but declined by 44% in secondary forest, whereas granivores more than doubled in this habitat type. Numbers of species per guild were not significantly different between habitats, while numbers of individuals per guild were significantly different. In general, individuals per species are significantly different in the two habitats. Results suggest that most of the species that are currently surviving in the remnant forests of the Sierra Yalijux might be fairly well adapted to a range of forest conditions, but that populations of a number of restricted-range species might be small. Even generalists species like the Common Bush Tanager (Chlorospingus ophthalmicus) are less abundant in secondary vegetation than in primary forest of the study plot.

Keywords

Avian species richness Conservation Deforestation Diversity Guatemala Land-use 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Swen C Renner
    • 1
  • Matthias Waltert
    • 2
  • Michael Mühlenberg
    • 2
  1. 1.Conservation and Research CenterSmithsonian InstitutionFront RoyalUSA
  2. 2.Centre for Nature ConservationGeorg-August University of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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