Ecological Research

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 687–696 | Cite as

Disturbance-induced bird diversity in early successional habitats in the humid temperate region of northern Japan

  • Reiko Kurosawa
Original Article


The positive role of moderate natural disturbance is less known for a mobile organism such as birds, compared to sessile organisms. In the face of recent declines of grassland birds, it is necessary to identify the mechanism to maintain avian diversity in early successional open habitats in different regions. In the humid temperate region, the predominant habitat type is woody vegetation. Therefore, bird communities were studied along vegetational succession using a chronosequence method. TWINSPAN identified three distinctive habitat types (barren, grass-fen and shrubland) and four habitat guilds of birds (pioneer, grassland, ubiquitous and shrub) in the study sites. Path analysis determined the direct and indirect effects of disturbance on the habitat guilds of birds. Short and intermediate intervals of the water disturbance are important to pioneer guilds and grass-fen habitat, respectively. The frequent occurrence of large animals had a negative impact on grassland guild. It suggests that grassland birds less tolerate cattle grazing or human activities in a region with intensive land use. The chronosequence study revealed the dynamic nature of the bird community. Birds occupy habitats following the successional sere of vegetation, responding to animal occurrence and human activities in various manners.


Direct and indirect effects Grassland birds Habitat guild Intermediate disturbance Water regime 



Special thanks goes to Masanori, J. Toda, Hiroyoshi Higuchi, Tsutomu Hiura, Shiro Tsuyuzaki and Satoshi Murakami, as well as two anonymous reviewers and the editor for informative discussion. I thank Naoki Inari, Akiyoshi Nozawa, Kotaro Matsushita (arthropod identification), Toshiaki Namba (statistical advice) and Takashi Kurosawa (English) for technical assistance. I also thank Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, National Agriculture Research Center, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute and Abuta Town.


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Institute of Low Temperature ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Japan Bird Research Association (JBRA)TokyoJapan
  3. 3.TokyoJapan

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