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Use of Multispecies Occupancy Models to Evaluate the Response of Bird Communities to Forest Degradation Associated with Logging
- CARRILLO‐RUBIO, EDUARDO, KÉRY, MARC, MORREALE, STEPHEN J., SULLIVAN, PATRICK J., GARDNER, BETH, COOCH, EVAN G., LASSOIE, JAMES P.
- Conservation biology 2014 v.28 no.4 pp. 1034-1044
- breeding, community structure, ecosystem services, forests, habitats, landscapes, livelihood, logging, managers, models, national parks, planning, species diversity, stand characteristics, surveys, trees, uncertainty, wild birds, Mexico
- Forest degradation is arguably the greatest threat to biodiversity, ecosystem services, and rural livelihoods. Therefore, increasing understanding of how organisms respond to degradation is essential for management and conservation planning. We were motivated by the need for rapid and practical analytical tools to assess the influence of management and degradation on biodiversity and system state in areas subject to rapid environmental change. We compared bird community composition and size in managed (ejido, i.e., communally owned lands) and unmanaged (national park) forests in the Sierra Tarahumara region, Mexico, using multispecies occupancy models and data from a 2‐year breeding bird survey. Unmanaged sites had on average higher species occupancy and richness than managed sites. Most species were present in low numbers as indicated by lower values of detection and occupancy associated with logging‐induced degradation. Less than 10% of species had occupancy probabilities >0.5, and degradation had no positive effects on occupancy. The estimated metacommunity size of 125 exceeded previous estimates for the region, and sites with mature trees and uneven‐aged forest stand characteristics contained the highest species richness. Higher estimation uncertainty and decreases in richness and occupancy for all species, including habitat generalists, were associated with degraded young, even‐aged stands. Our findings show that multispecies occupancy methods provide tractable measures of biodiversity and system state and valuable decision support for landholders and managers. These techniques can be used to rapidly address gaps in biodiversity information, threats to biodiversity, and vulnerabilities of species of interest on a landscape level, even in degraded or fast‐changing environments. Moreover, such tools may be particularly relevant in the assessment of species richness and distribution in a wide array of habitats.