Population Trends for Eastern Scrub-Shrub Birds Related to Availability of Small-Diameter Upland Hardwood Forests

  • Kathleen E. Franzreb
  • Sonja N. Oswalt
  • David A. Buehler
Part of the Managing Forest Ecosystems book series (MAFE, volume 21)


Early successional habitats are an important part of the forest landscape for supporting avian communities. As the frequency and extent of the anthropogenic disturbances have declined, suitable habitat for scrub-shrub bird species also has decreased, resulting in significant declines for many species. We related changes in the proportion and distribution of small-diameter upland hardwood forest throughout the eastern USA (US Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis data) with North American Breeding Bird Survey data (US Geological Survey) on population trends of 11 species that use early successional hardwood forest. The availability of small-diameter upland hardwood forest has changed over the past four decades, with the biggest differences seen as declines from the 1990s to the 2000s. Most scrub-shrub species also declined since the inception of the Breeding Bird Survey in 1966. The declines in most of the bird species, however, did not closely track the changes in small-diameter forest availability. Scrub-shrub birds use a variety of habitats that originate from a diverse array of disturbance sources. The total availability of these habitats across the region apparently limits the populations for these species. A comprehensive management strategy across all of these types is required to conserve these species.


Appalachian Mountain Breed Bird Survey Northern Bobwhite Eastern Bluebird Early Successional Habitat 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the hundreds of observers that contributed to the collection of both FIA and BBS data over the past four decades. Their dedication has made this analysis possible. We also thank the US Forest Service Southern Research Station and the University of Tennessee for support.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen E. Franzreb
    • 1
  • Sonja N. Oswalt
    • 2
  • David A. Buehler
    • 3
  1. 1.Research Wildlife Biologist with the Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management Research Work Unit, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Southern Appalachian Mountains Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit, Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and FisheriesUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Forester with the Resource Analysis TeamUSDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Forest Inventory and AnalysisKnoxvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Forestry, Wildlife and FisheriesUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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