Abstract: The composition and structure of the bird community were investigated in French Guiana (northeastern Amazonia) 1 year and 10 years after selective logging and compared with bird community composition and structure in undisturbed primary forest. A point‐count method was used in which 937 0.25‐ha sample quadrats were censused for 20 minutes each. Whereas logging removed little more than 3 trees/ha, 38% of the forest undergrowth was destroyed and a proportion of the canopy was opened or damaged. An overall 27–33% decrease of species richness, frequency, and abundance occurred after logging, with a less marked decline of diversity and evenness indices, a substantial increase in the proportion of dominant species, and a 45% difference in species composition, weighed by frequency, between logged and undisturbed forest communities. Forty‐two percent of the species from the primary forest decreased sharply or disappeared after logging and only 34% increased or remained unchanged. Microhabitat selection was the main correlate of sensitivity to disturbance. Most affected by logging were species associated with the understory of tall mature stands especially terrestrial species, members of mixed flocks, and solitary sallying insectivores, all of which decreased by 70% to over 90%. Most birds associated with canopy, small gaps, and vine tangles declined by only 10–30%. Small frugivores and species associated with clearings or edges increased. Among other factors, physiological intolerance of understory species to open forest microclimatic conditions (light, heat, or water stress) might influence their avoidance of logged areas. Timber harvesting generated a high level of disturbance, which depressed the bird diversity. After over 10 years of regeneration, the dense regrowth produced a uniform habitat type that still had not recovered the high species richness exhibited by the primary forest under an intermediate level of disturbance.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 1992
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