Fuel-reduction treatment effects on avian community structure and diversity

Sarah R. Hurteau, Thomas D. Sisk, William M. Block, Brett G. Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We assessed responses of the breeding bird community to mechanical thinning and prescribed surface fire, alone and in combination, between 2000 and 2006 in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests in northern Arizona, USA. Fuel-reduction treatments did not affect species richness or evenness, and effects on density of 5 commonly detected species varied among species. Populations of some species, such as the western bluebird (Sialia mexicana), increased following burning treatments, whereas others, such as the mountain chickadee (Poecile gambeli), decreased in response to thinning treatments. Our results also identified a temporal response component, where avian community composition and structure changed synchronously on all treatments over time. Given the modest effects these small-scale fuel-reduction treatments had on avian composition and the specific density responses of particular species, our results suggest that land managers should consider implementing prescribed surface fire after thinning projects, where appropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1168-1174
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Arizona
  • Avian community diversity
  • Fire and fire surrogates
  • Ponderosa pine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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