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Comparing bird community composition among boreal wetlands: Is wetland classification a missing piece of the habitat puzzle?

Publication Type: Scientific

Author: Morissette, J. L., K. J. Kardynal, E. M. Bayne, and K. A. Hobson.

Date: 2013

Despite making up 20-60% of the North American boreal landscape, wetlands and their associated bird communities remain poorly understood. In the context of forest management and avian conservation, wetland classification presents an opportunity to classify and investigate wetland bird communities. We compared bird communities among a suite of eight wetland classes in the southern Boreal Plains ecozone of Manitoba and tested whether wetland classification was a useful tool for delineating habitat for birds. To provide context for how wetlands fit into a managed forest setting, we compared wetland classes with structurally similar harvested deciduous and mixedwood stands early in succession (5-7 years) to assess potential overlap in community composition. We conducted fixed-radius (100 m) point counts across 83 sites and used a combination of multivariate techniques to determine whether individual wetland classes supported characteristic bird assemblages and species. Our study suggests using established approaches to classifying wetlands will be helpful for documenting the full breadth of habitats used by boreal birds. Given ongoing industrial development, particularly in the boreal plains ecozone, further research is needed to determine effects of human disturbance and support the conservation of a full spectrum of wetland classes in the boreal landscape.

Morissette, J. L., K. J. Kardynal, E. M. Bayne, and K. A. Hobson. 2013. Comparing bird community composition among boreal wetlands: Is wetland classification a missing piece of the habitat puzzle? Wetlands 33:653-665.

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