Long-term response of boreal forest bird community to changes in habitat structure and configuration due to forestry and other land uses

There are both immediate and long-term effects of forestry on boreal birds. To minimize incidental take of birds and nests during harvest, foresters need accurate tools for predicting abundance of nesting birds in the peak breeding season, to time harvests year-round. Longer-term effects of harvest and other land uses on boreal birds are unknown, because most studies of forestry practices on boreal birds occur over short periods. I will analyze >20 years of forestry treatment and bird abundance data from Alberta to 1) predict nesting bird abundance in different forest stands within a forest harvest plan; and 2) under future land use scenarios created by timber supply and land use simulation software. These analyses will predict how boreal birds respond to changes in forest structure and enable the Mitacs partners (West Fraser, Al-Pac) to minimize incidental take and create long-term plans balancing forest harvest with maintenance of boreal bird habitat.

Lionel Leston
Faculty Supervisor: 
Erin Bayne
Project Year: