" BES Project Abstracts 2005
Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2005 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

The Relationship Between Breeding Bird Diversity in Urban Forest Patches and Human-Mediated Resources Located in the Surrounding Neighborhood Matrix.
Chrissa Carlson, Mary Cadenasso, Gary Barrett
Abstract: Urban forest patches function as habitat fragments within a landscape matrix dominated by human development. The utility of a forest fragment as bird habitat can be investigated at multiple scales; both internal patch features and landscape matrix characteristics determine the quality of the patch as avian habitat. Cultural land-use practices can affect the abundance of resources available to birds outside of the forest fragment. The relationship between the resources provided by residential neighborhoods and avian diversity in embedded forest patches was investigated in the Gwynns Falls Watershed, Baltimore, Maryland. Breeding bird communities in 15 small forest fragments (2 -8 ha each) were surveyed during the 2005 breeding season. HERCULES classification was applied to the surrounding landscape to attain coarse-scale predictor variables. Fine-scale vegetation surveys were completed at random points within the forest patches as well as in the surrounding neighborhoods; external points were stratified according to HERCULES patch classification. The density of bird resource subsidies (e.g., feeders, bird baths, and nest boxes) was also quantified. An information-theoretic approach will be used to select models which best predict avian diversity in these patches, and evaluate whether resident land-management decisions decrease or enhance avian diversity within these patches. Preliminary results from this study will be presented.