Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version



Chizinski, C. J., A. Peterson, J. Hanowski, C.R. Blinn, B. Vondracek, and G. Niemi. 2011. Breeding bird response to partially harvested riparian management zones. Forest Ecology and Management 261:1892-1900.


US government work.


We compared avian communities among three timber harvesting treatments in 45-m wide even-age riparian management zones (RMZs) placed between upland clearcuts and along one side of first- or second-order streams in northern Minnesota, USA. The RMZs had three treatments: (1) unharvested, (2) intermediate residual basal area (RBA) (targeted goal 11.5m2/ha, realized 16.0m2/ha), and (3) low RBA (targeted goal 5.7m2/ha, realized 8.7m2/ha). Surveys were conducted one year pre-harvest and three consecutive years post-harvest. There was no change in species richness, diversity, or total abundance associated with harvest but there were shifts in the types of birds within the community. In particular, White-throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) and Chestnut-sided Warblers (Dendroica pensylvanica) increased while Ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla) and Red-eyed Vireos (Vireo olivaceus) decreased. The decline of avian species associated with mature forest in the partially harvested treatments relative to controls indicates that maintaining an unharvested RMZ adjacent to an upland harvest may aid in maintaining avian species associated mature forest in Minnesota for at least three years post-harvest. However, our observations do not reflect reproductive success, which is an area for future research.