Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Minnesota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Chizinski, C. J., A. Peterson, J. Hanowski, C. Blinn, B. Vondracek, and G. Niemi. 2011. Breeding bird response to partially harvested riparian management zones in northern Minnesota. Forest Ecology and Management 261(11):1892-1900.


We compared avian communities among three timber harvesting treatments in 45-m wide riparian management zones (RMZs) placed between upland clearcuts and along one side of first- or second-order streams in northern Minnesota, USA. The RMZs had three treatments: 1) unharvested, 2) intermediate residual basal area (RBA) (targeted goal 11.5 m2/ha, realized 16.0 m2/ha), and 3) low RBA (targeted goal 5.7 m2/ha, realized 8.7 m2/ha). Surveys were conducted one year pre-harvest and three years post-harvest. There was no change in species richness, diversity, or total abundance associated with harvest but there were shifts in the types of birds within the community. In particular, White-throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) and Chestnut-sided Warblers (Dendroica pensylvanica) increased while Ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla) and Red-eyed Vireos (Vireo olivaceus) decreased. The decline of avian species associated mature forest in the partially harvested treatments relative to controls indicates that maintaining an unharvested RMZ adjacent to an upland harvest may aid in maintaining avian species associated mature forest in Minnesota. However, our observations do not reflect reproductive success, which is an area for future research.