Effects of forest fragmentation on predation of artificial passerine nests in the montane spruce/fir forest on Stratton Mountain, VT

Guenther, Pete
Tom Wessels, MA
Department of Environmental Studies
Many studies have looked at the effects of forest fragmentation and edge upon the predation of avian nests. This is the first study to evaluate these effects in the montane spruce/fir (Picea sp./Abis balsama) forest (above 900m) of New England where forests are fragmented by ski and foot trails. Artificial nests, baited with Bobwhite eggs, were placed in subalpine fir trees along trails and in contiguous forest and monitored for predation at two seven day intervals. Nests along foot trails suffered higher (p<.001) predation than those in the contiguous forest. Those along ski trail edges were predated at a rate not different than those in the undisturbed forest (p<.001). Visual cover and stem density were evaluated at each nest placement. Stem densities in all treatments were higher than in the contiguous forest treatment. Visual cover of nests in all treatments was the same as, or less, than that in the contiguous forest.

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