Transforming Abandoned Farm Fields to Conifer Plantations Reduces Ruffed Grouse Density


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Roy, Christian, Mazerolle, Marc J. et Imbeau, Louis (2015). Transforming Abandoned Farm Fields to Conifer Plantations Reduces Ruffed Grouse Density. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management , 6 (2). pp. 405-417. doi:10.3996/022015-JFWM-021 Repéré dans Depositum à

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Natural forests likely will be unable to fulfill society’s needs sustainably for wood fiber in the near future. In an attempt to meet increasing demands while protecting intact forests, producers have increasingly considered alternative sources of timber, such as intensively managed plantations. In regions that are economically dependent on forest harvesting, abandoned farm fields are often targeted for conversion to intensive coniferous plantations. These sites are generally in an early successional stage that is dominated by deciduous stands, which provide an important habitat type for several game species, including ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus). Therefore, conversion could represent a loss of habitat for this species and several others that are associated with early successional deciduous stages. We conducted grouse drumming surveys in northwestern Quebec, Canada to evaluate the effects of transforming old fields into conifer plantations on ruffed grouse by comparing densities between two habitat types: abandoned farm fields (n = 22) and old fields converted to conifer plantations (n = 19). To correct anyaudibility bias between habitat types, we located all drumming males that were heard at each site. We then analyzed the number of individuals that were detected in the sites with repeated count models. Our results show that overall drumming males avoided plantations. Overhead cover increased drumming male densities in both habitat types, whereas lateral cover increased drumming grouse densities only in plantations. The density of deciduous stems and fruit-bearing stems also had a tendency to increase drumming male densities, but their effects were marginal. Most ruffed grouse in abandoned farm fields used piles of woody debris on the ground as drumming structures rather than large logs or rock outcrops. Our results suggest that plantations do not have the vegetative cover and quantity of food stems necessary to support high ruffed grouse densities during the drumming season and that conversion of abandoned farm fields to coniferous plantations may exert negative cascading effects for reproduction and population growth.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: Abandoned farm fields; Bonasa umbellus; Drumming structure; Drumming surveys; Plantations; Probability of detection
Divisions: Forêts
Sciences appliquées
Date de dépôt: 21 avr. 2020 18:50
Dernière modification: 20 mai 2020 13:45

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