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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

How removal of invasive trees affects nesting birds in riparian areas

Snapshot : Researchers studied nesting success in areas dominated by native tree species such as willows, areas dominated by invasive species such as tamarisk, sites that burned, those not burned and those where invasive species had been removed.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Finch, Deborah M.  
Research Location : New Mexico's Middle Rio Grande Corridor
Research Station : Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS)
Year : 2010
Highlight ID : 269

Summary

In central New Mexico's Middle Rio Grande corridor, birds such as the black-chinned hummingbird and the endangered willow flycatcher nest in invasive exotic tree species. This dependency on otherwise undesirable invasives raised concern about removing these exotic trees for wildfire control. Would nesting be harmed Researchers investigated this question at the request of the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District and the City of Albuquerque. Researchers studied nesting success in areas dominated by native tree species such as willows, areas dominated by invasive species such as tamarisk, sites that burned, those not burned and those where invasive species had been removed. This ongoing research indicates that when invasive exotic tree species are removed, riparian-nesting birds move into native trees and nest survival rates show little change. If these invasive species are not removed, the woodland may burn, which is a problem because these invasives respond positively to fire and may replace native habitat important to a broader multitude of species. Fires also results in loss of native tree species important for nesting by woodpeckers, hawks, and many other species. This research helps managers make better decisions regarding the management of invasive species. Additional research collaborators include the University of Oklahoma and Gila National Forest.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Fish and Wildlife Service, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, the City of Albuquerque, University of Oklahoma and Gila National Forest

Research Topics

Priority Areas

  • Invasive Species
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