Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prescribed Burning May Threaten Ground Nesting Birds

Date:
September 25, 2001
Source:
Society For Conservation Biology
Summary:
Prescribed burning could be a good way to restore oak forests in the eastern U.S. -- but it might also have some unwanted ecological effects. The first study of bird recovery after prescribed burning shows that it can reduce populations of ground-nesting birds.

Prescribed burning could be a good way to restore oak forests in the eastern U.S. -- but it might also have some unwanted ecological effects. The first study of bird recovery after prescribed burning shows that it can reduce populations of ground-nesting birds.

This work is presented in the October issue of Conservation Biology by Vanessa Artman, who did this work while at Ohio State University in Columbus and is now at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and her co-authors.

Decades of fire suppression in eastern U.S. deciduous forests have shifted the dominant tree from fire-tolerant oaks to fire-intolerant species such as red maples. Experimental prescribed burns are being assessed to see how well they restore and maintain oak-dominated forests. Biologists are particularly concerned about the effects on the Neotropical migrant songbirds that breed in U.S. forests, some of which have declined over the last 25 years.

Artman and her colleagues investigated the effects of prescribed burns on forest birds in four study sites: two in the Wayne National Forest and two in the Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest in southcentral Ohio. The researchers burned 50-75-acre areas either frequently (yearly for four years) or infrequently (at the beginning and end of the study period); the historical fire frequency was about once every five years. The researcher then monitored 30 bird species in both burned and unburned areas.

Artman and her colleagues found that after four years of repeated burning, three ground-nesting bird species declined by more than 80%: ovenbirds, worm-eating warblers and hooded warblers. The researchers attribute these declines to the fact that burning decreased the leaf litter, shrubs and saplings that the birds depend on.

Ovenbirds nest on the ground and use leaf litter to build and conceal their nests. Worm-eating warblers nest on the ground in high moisture areas, and the burns presumably dried them out and made them less suitable for nest sites. Hooded warblers typically nest within a few feet of the ground in dense shrub thickets, and the burns eliminated most of these.

The researchers also found that two bird species increased: American robins and eastern wood-pewees (the former went from being rare to being common, and the latter nearly doubled). The researchers frequently observed these birds feeding in burned areas, suggesting that fire improved their foraging habitat.

Artman and her colleagues conclude that long-term or large- scale prescribed burning could change the songbird community in eastern deciduous forests.

Artman's co-authors are: Elaine Sutherland of the U.S. Forest Service in Missoula, Montana, and Jerry Downhower of Ohio State University in Columbus.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society For Conservation Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society For Conservation Biology. "Prescribed Burning May Threaten Ground Nesting Birds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010925071523.htm>.
Society For Conservation Biology. (2001, September 25). Prescribed Burning May Threaten Ground Nesting Birds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010925071523.htm
Society For Conservation Biology. "Prescribed Burning May Threaten Ground Nesting Birds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010925071523.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) Gertjie the Rhino and Lammie the Lamb are teaching the world about animal conservation and friendship. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has the adorable video! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins