Environmental Management

, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 511–518 | Cite as

Habitat classification: A comparison using avian species and guilds

  • Richard M. Degraaf
  • Nan L. Chadwick


Results of breeding bird censuses in 1979 and 1980 were used to compare the relationships of both species and guilds to forest habitats in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Several age classes of 11 forest cover types were studied: northern hard-woods (Fagus-Betula-Acer), spruce (Picea), spruce-fir (Picea-Abies), birth (Betula), swamp hardwoods (Acer-Pinus-Tsuga), pine (Pinus strobus andP. resinosa), balsam fir (Abies), aspen (Populus tremuloides andP. grandidentata), northern red oak (Quercus), oak-pine (Quercus-Pinus), and hemlock (Tsuga). All types were even-aged; only northern hardwoods had an additional uneven-aged condition. Forest cover types were also pooled to consider generalized habitats: hardwoods, mixed forest, or softwoods. Results of ordinations based on censuses of 74 bird species indicate that foraging guilds are more related to general cover types than are nesting substrate guilds, but bird species reflect habitat differences to a greater degree than do either guild scheme. Also, considerable overlap occurs in bird species distribution between hardwoods and mixed forests; softwoods show little overlap with other types. Discriminant function and classification analyses revealed that bird species composition can be used to correctly classify general forest habitats more accurately (83.8%) than either foraging (63.2%) or nesting substrate guilds (58.4%). These results indicate that, of the habitats studied, avian species compositions are more characteristic than are foraging or nesting substrate guild composition, which tend to be similar across forest habitats.

Key Words

Avian species Discriminant analysis Forest habitats Guilds Habitat classification Ordination 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard M. Degraaf
    • 1
  • Nan L. Chadwick
    • 2
  1. 1.USDA Forest ServiceUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Department of Forestry and Wildlife ManagementUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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