Old Regrowth Forest Patches as Habitat for the Conservation of Avian Diversity in a Southwest Ohio Landscape

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Landscape fragmentation and chronic habitat loss are potentially profound obstacles to the protection of mature forest birds in the eastern deciduous forest of the Corn Belt agricultural region. Because of the general absence of large remnant forests, conservation efforts need to better understand the role of very small ‘regrowth’ patches for bird conservation. This study investigated how small old regrowth forests contribute to regional bird diversity and differ in composition in relation to their physical, ecological, and landscape attributes. From May to late June 2009, we measured forest composition and structure, and conducted avian point count surveys in nine regrowth patches, 0.9 - 11.2 ha, embedded in the Miami University Natural Areas, Butler County, Ohio. These small patches conserved 68 percent of the recorded regional birds, including 94 percent of mature forest breeders. Site differences among the nine patches explained the designation of avian community types as primarily upland, floodplain, and transitional between these settings. These findings demonstrate the conservation significance of small, old regrowth patches for mature forest birds and support the conservation of these forests across a range of physical, ecological, and landscape settings.


Author Institution: Department of Geography, Miami University



The Ohio Journal of Science, v110, n4 (September, 2010), 86-93.