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Cubbedge, A.W. 1994. Comparisons of floodplain forest bird communities adjacent to four land use types at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. M.S. Thesis, University of Missouri-Columbia. 93 pp.


Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a 3239 ha greenway extending 55 km along the Minnesota River. The refuge is located within the 7-county Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Floodplain forest is the most abundant terrestrial habitat on the refuge and is most vulnerable to the effects of urbanization. In 1992 I started a 2-year study comparing the winter and breeding bird communities of the four largest floodplain forest stands on the refuge. My goal was to determine if bird species composition and abundance among the four stands was influenced by adjacent commercial, residential, industrial, and agricultural land uses. I counted birds on strip transects located in each of the four stands and in the adjacent land use areas.

Data from 1992 and 1993 indicated that the bird communities of the floodplain forest stands were distinct in species composition and density from those of the adjacent land uses, during the winter and breeding season. Adjacent land use did not appear to explain the patterns of differences observed for the winter floodplain forest birds. However, land use assocated with the industrial area resulted in changes in the structure of adjacent floodplain forest and consequently the breeding bird community. Natural resource managers should recognize the potential consequences of habitat alterations resulting from adjacent land use practices.

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