ATBC Online Web Program

S33-7
The importance of secondary forests as corridor habitats for forest birds at the margin of Piedras Blancas National Park, Costa Rica

Thursday, 27 June 2013: 12:05
La Paz-A (Herradura San Jose)
Andrés Felipe Reyes Páez , Department of Tropical Ecology and Animal Biodiversity, University of Vienna, Austria
Christian H. Schulze , Department of Tropical Ecology and Animal Biodiversity, University of Vienna, Austria
Nowadays, human-dominated landscapes in most tropical regions are characterized by a low permeability for forest species, thereby preventing movements between forest remnants. This study quantified the importance of secondary forests in different succession stages as potential stepping stone or corridor habitats for forest birds at the margin of a protected forest area (Piedras Blancas National Park) in the Pacific lowlands of southern Costa Rica. Birds were surveyed in pastures with scattered trees and bushes, young secondary forests (reforestation and natural succession), old secondary forests and old abandoned agroforestry systems (N = 4 replicate sites per habitat type) by point counts (duration: 20 min, 10 counts per site) in November 2010-January 2011. In total 115 bird species were recorded, including 54 forest specialists (restricted to closed forest) and 61 forest generalists. The density of large trees (dbh > 10 cm) proved to be the best predictor for increasing species richness and changes in species composition of forest specialists, hence, emphasizing the importance of large trees as structural component of secondary forest for forest birds. This finding has important management implications for reforestation programs and calls for evaluating the potential of fast-growing native trees to improve the conservation value of secondary forests for forest birds within shorter time periods.