JCSET | Watershed Studies Institute Research Symposium

Title

Assessing factors driving avian diversity in bottomland hardwood forest restoration sites

Presenter Information

Clay BliznickFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Biological Sciences

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Howard Whiteman, PhD. Michael Flinn, PhD. Andrea Darracq, PhD.

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Approximately 70% of Bottomland hardwood forests (BHFs), a wetland type found in the southeastern and south central USA, have been lost in the past two centuries. To mitigate effects of BHF losses on biodiversity and ecosystem services, the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) has worked to regenerate BHFs by cooperating with private landowners to establish restoration easements. Our objective was to assess the influence of WRP restoration and fine-scale and landscape attributes of easements on avian diversity by comparing bird diversity between reference standard wetlands (n = 2), agricultural wetland, controls (n=2), and WRP easements (n = 9). Thus far, we have conducted point counts seasonally from summer 2019 to spring 2020. We calculated seasonal species richness and the effective number of common species for each site. Richness did not vary across sites. The effective number of common species was greater on reference sites compared to easement and control sites across all seasons, but did not differ between easement and control sites. In the future, we will consider other factors related to easements (e.g., age, hydrologic conditions, land cover) that may allow us to better understand easement effects on avian diversity.

Spring Scholars Week 2021 Event

Watershed Studies Institute Symposium

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Assessing factors driving avian diversity in bottomland hardwood forest restoration sites

Approximately 70% of Bottomland hardwood forests (BHFs), a wetland type found in the southeastern and south central USA, have been lost in the past two centuries. To mitigate effects of BHF losses on biodiversity and ecosystem services, the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) has worked to regenerate BHFs by cooperating with private landowners to establish restoration easements. Our objective was to assess the influence of WRP restoration and fine-scale and landscape attributes of easements on avian diversity by comparing bird diversity between reference standard wetlands (n = 2), agricultural wetland, controls (n=2), and WRP easements (n = 9). Thus far, we have conducted point counts seasonally from summer 2019 to spring 2020. We calculated seasonal species richness and the effective number of common species for each site. Richness did not vary across sites. The effective number of common species was greater on reference sites compared to easement and control sites across all seasons, but did not differ between easement and control sites. In the future, we will consider other factors related to easements (e.g., age, hydrologic conditions, land cover) that may allow us to better understand easement effects on avian diversity.