Bird ecology, conservation, and community responses to logging in the northern Peruvian Amazon
Dauphine, Nico Suzanne
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Understanding the responses of wildlife communities to logging and other human impacts in tropical forests is critical to the conservation of global biodiversity. I examined understory forest bird community responses to different intensities of non-mechanized commercial logging in two areas of the northern Peruvian Amazon: white-sand forest in the Allpahuayo-Mishana Reserve, and humid tropical forest in the Cordillera de Colán. I quantified vegetation structure using a modified circular plot method. I sampled birds using mist nets at a total of 21 lowland forest stands, comparing birds in logged forests 1, 5, and 9 years postharvest with those in unlogged forests using a sample effort of 4439 net-hours. I assumed not all species were detected and used sampling data to generate estimates of bird species richness and local extinction and turnover probabilities. During the course of fieldwork, I also made a preliminary inventory of birds in the northwest Cordillera de Colán and incidental observations of new nest and distributional records as well as threats and conservation measures for birds in the region. In both study areas, canopy cover was significantly higher in unlogged forest stands compared to logged forest stands. In Allpahuayo-Mishana, estimated bird species richness was highest in unlogged forest and lowest in forest regenerating 1-2 years post-logging. An estimated 24-80% of bird species in unlogged forest were absent from logged forest stands between 1 and 10 years postharvest. Ten years after logging, bird species richness remained significantly lower in logged forest compared to unlogged forest. In the Cordillera de Colán, estimated bird species richness was similar between unlogged forest and logged forest stands, but logged forests 4-5 years postharvest had a significantly greater estimated number of species than logged forest 1-2 years postharvest. An estimated 28-30% of unlogged forest understory bird species were absent from logged forest between 1 and 5 years postharvest. These results suggest that even where logging is carried out without the use of heavy equipment and logged stands are interspersed in large tracts of unlogged forest, it is associated with moderately low to high rates of local extinction of unlogged forest understory bird species.