Aug. 21, 2013 — Efforts to conserve declining populations of forest-interior birds have largely focused on preserving the mature forests where birds breed, but a U.S. Forest Service study suggests that in the weeks leading up to migration, younger forest habitat may be just as important.
In an article published recently in the American Ornithologist Union's publication The Auk, research wildlife biologist Scott Stoleson of the U.S. Forest Service's Northern Research Station suggests that forest regrowth in clearcuts may be vital to birds as they prepare for fall migration.
The study suggests that declines in forest-interior species may be due in part to the increasing maturity and homogenization of forests. Openings created by timber harvesting may increase habitat for some forest interior birds, according to Stoleson. "Humans have really changed the nature of mature forests in the Northeast," Stoleson said. "Natural processes that once created open spaces even within mature forests, such as fire, are largely controlled, diminishing the availability of quality habitat."