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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Clearcut and re-seed forests Bird Conservation

Key messages

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  • One of two replicated studies from the USA found similar bird densities in clearcut and re-seeded sites as in sites under other managements.
  • A replicated study from the USA found that pine stands replanted with native pines held more scrub-sucessional species than stands managed with tree thinning, midstory tree removal and burning.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A replicated study in 1991 in Ocala National Forest, an area of sand pine Pinus clausa scrub in Florida, USA (Greenberg et al. 1995), found similar densities and species richness of birds in areas that were clearcut and ‘brake-seeded’ (i.e. direct seeding on to small, machine-made mounds), compared with areas that were burned, or were clearcut with the understorey also mown.  Results were similar for the breeding season (389 birds/km2 and five species for clearcut and re seeded areas vs. 581 birds/km², six species for clearcut and mown; 389 birds/km², five species for burned) and winter (894 birds/km2 and 11 species for clearcut and re seeded areas vs. 594 birds/km², ten species for clearcut and mown; 531 birds/km², 12 species for burned). Shrub-nesting species were most abundant in mown plots. In summer, the threatened Florida scrub-jay Aphelocoma coerulescens was evenly distributed across plots, in winter it was found only in re-seeded plots. All management occurred 5-7 years before the study in 1991.



A replicated study in 1995-1996 in pine Pinus spp. savanna in South Carolina, USA (Krementz & Christie 1999), found that stands managed for red-cockaded woodpeckers Picoides borealis held fewer scrub-successional species than stands where non-native pines were removed and replanted with longleaf pines Pinus palustris (31-36 species in managed stands vs. 54-55 in replanted stands). However, no differences in survival rates were apparent for Bachman's sparrow Aimophila aestivalis (a near-threatened species), indigo bunting Passerina cyanea, and combined scrub-successional birds between stand types. Management for woodpeckers involved tree thinning, midstory tree removal and burning.


Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Bird Conservation. Pages 141-290 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.