Fine-scale habitat structure complexity determines insectivorous bird diversity in a tropical forest

Gabriel J. Castaño-Villa, Santiago A. Ramos-Valencia, Francisco E. Fontúrbel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Habitat complexity in reforested stands has been acknowledged as a key factor that influences habitat use by birds, being especially critical for habitat disturbance-sensitive species such as tropical understory insectivorous birds. Most studies regarding the relationship between forest structure and species diversity were conducted at the landscape scale, but different diversity patterns may emerge at a finer scale (i.e., within a habitat patch). We examined a tropical reforested area (State of Caldas, Colombia), hypothesizing that insectivorous bird richness, abundance, and foraging guild abundance would increase as intra-habitat complexity increases. We established 40 monitoring plots within a reforested area, measured their structural features, and determined their relationships with species richness, total abundance, and foraging guild abundance, using Generalized Additive Models. We found that the increasing variation in basal area, stem diameter, and number of stems was positively correlated with species richness, total abundance, and foraging guild abundance. Relationships between richness or abundance and structural features were not lineal, but showing curvilinear responses and thresholds. Our results show that heterogeneity on basal area, stem diameter, and the number of stems was more correlated to insectivorous bird richness and abundance than the average of those structural features. Promoting structural variation on reforested areas by planting species with different growth rates may contribute to increase the richness and abundance of a tropical vulnerable group of species such as the understory insectivorous birds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-23
Number of pages5
JournalActa Oecologica
Volume61
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Basal area
  • Conservation
  • Foraging guild
  • Native forest plantation
  • Stem density

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