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Haney, A. and S.I. Apfelbaum. 1984. Bird populations in successional communities following wildfire and logging, and in pine plantations, in the Quetico-Superior, in northeastern Minnesota and adjacent Canada. Final report submitted to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 28+ pp.


This study provides an analysis of avian data from 13 post-wildfire communities, 7 logged communities, and 4 pine plantations in Superior National Forest, Minnesota and adjacent Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario. Study sites were selected in communities that burned 1 - 370 years ago. Logged areas were studied 1-50 years after disturbance. All study sites were selected in upland sites, generally more than 100 m from water or large bogs. Birds were censused daily from dawn to mid-morning, for 3 to 5 hours per census, over several days. 51 bird species had identifiable territories on 3 burned study sites. 20 additional species also were recognized. Successional trends were evident. This study suggests that post-fire species richness follows a bimodal model, with the highest richness within 15 years after fire and again after 175 years of community development. The depression in richness in the 67 and 73 year forests appears to be consistent and real. Forest management which focuses on timber production will result in reduced species richness and bird density as compared to naturally rotating forests. Important here is the realization that fire rarely burned areas completely even in years when fires were unusually heavy. Fire creates a mosaic of different aged communities, from bogs which rarely burn to scattered old growth communities that escaped fire for 300 or more years. Forest management for time, in contrast, tends to reduce the natural mosaic and render the entire forest region more homogeneous in composition and structure. Plantations go farther toward this reduction of potential avian habitat than logging followed by natural regeneration alone.

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