YOUNG FOREST MANAGEMENT FOR SENSITIVE BIRD SPECIES IN WESTERN MARYLAND
Taillie, Dylan Maher
Elmore, Andrew J
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Golden-winged warbler, cerulean warbler, and wood thrush populations are in decline in the eastern United States. Golden-winged warblers rely on young forests – such as those created using silviculture – for nesting and early life stages; however, the loss of late-successional forest through timber harvest likely degrades habitat for cerulean warblers and wood thrush. To quantify these complexities, I mapped current habitat quality for these three species in Western Maryland using models based on forest metrics. The creation of young forest through silviculture and field succession scenarios was then simulated to project how modeled changes affect predicted habitat quality. Field succession scenarios and silviculture scenarios both improved predicted habitat quality for golden-winged warblers and wood thrush; however, for cerulean warblers, field succession scenarios improved habitat quality while silviculture scenarios degraded habitat quality. This modeling approach will assist managers in using funds to simultaneously improve habitat quality for multiple sensitive species.