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Abundance of Black-backed woodpeckers and other birds in relation to disturbance and forest structure in the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains of South Dakota and Wyoming

Posted date: June 22, 2017
Publication Year: 
2017
Authors: Matseur, Elizabeth A.
Publication Series: 
Theses
Source: Columbia, MO: University of Missouri-Columbia. 85 p. Thesis.

Abstract

Natural disturbances, such as wildfire and mountain pine beetle (Dentroctonus ponderosae, hereafter MPB) infestations, are two sources of large-scale disturbance that can significantly alter forest structure in the Black Hills. The Black Hills has recently experienced one of the largest MPB outbreaks in the last 100 years, along with varying levels of wildfires throughout the forest, gives us a unique opportunity to study how birds respond to these disturbances. Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides dorsalis), Brown Creeper (Certhia americana), Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis), and White-winged Junco (Junco hyemalis aikeni) are species of regional conservation concern or are sensitive to forest management practices in the Black Hills. The Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus), was recently petitioned to be listed under the Endangered Species Act and more information on their population size in the region is needed. Our objectives were to 1) map abundance of Black-backed Woodpeckers and provide an estimate of population size in the region and 2) to determine densities of our five focal species in relation to vegetation characteristics and disturbance in the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains of South Dakota and Wyoming. We located 124 and 115 transects, containing 1,232 and 1,138 sampling points, in 2015 and 2016, respectively. We visited each point 3 times from late-March to late-June in 2015 and 2016. We characterized vegetation around each point using GIS derived landscape variables and simple point-level measurements.

Citation

Matseur, Elizabeth A. 2017. Abundance of Black-backed woodpeckers and other birds in relation to disturbance and forest structure in the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains of South Dakota and Wyoming. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri-Columbia. 85 p. Thesis.