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Forest fragmentation and tree species composition jointly shape breeding performance of two avian insectivores

Daan Dekeukeleire (UGent) , Lionel Hertzog (UGent) , Pieter Vantieghem (UGent) , Irene van Schrojenstein Lantman (UGent) , Bram Sercu (UGent) , Roschong Boonyarittichaikij (UGent) , An Martel (UGent) , Kris Verheyen (UGent) , Dries Bonte (UGent) , Diederik Strubbe (UGent) , et al.
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Abstract
Habitat fragmentation and forestry practices affect forest structure and composition, and hence, their intrinsic value for biodiversity conservation. While higher tree species diversity is commonly proposed to result in habitat of higher quality for forest species, how these tree diversity and tree composition effects interact with forest fragmentation in terms of critical resources and demographic effects on forest birds remains poorly understood. We investigated here possible synergistic effects of forest fragmentation and tree species composition on the breeding performance of two common, insectivorous forest birds in a human-dominated landscape in northern Belgium. We monitored the breeding performance of Great Tits and Blue Tits in 53 plots across independent gradients of tree species composition and forest fragmentation. In addition, data on the biomass of the main food source of these two species (i.e. caterpillars) was collected during the breeding season. Both tree composition and habitat fragmentation impacted the breeding performance of Great and Blue Tits. Effects of tree species composition were mainly driven by tree species identity, rather than by tree species diversity, and the highest breeding performance was obtained in monocultures of Pedunculate Oaks. Fragmentation effects were only observed in resource-poor Beech monocultures with breeding performance declining with reduction in forest area. Structural Equation Modelling revealed diverse and species-specific pathways: for Great Tits tree composition effects on breeding performance were driven by resource availability while for Blue Tits these effects were driven by variation in clutch size. Thus, forestry practices aiming at promoting forest-dependent birds could benefit from including tree species that support high arthropod numbers and by maintaining forest patches of larger sizes.
Keywords
Great Tit, Parus major, Blue Tit, Cyanistes caeruleus, Frass, Caterpillars, Prey availability, Treeweb, HOLE-NESTING BIRDS, LONG-TERM DATA, HABITAT QUALITY, GREAT-TIT, CLUTCH-SIZE, BLUE TITS, REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS, SPATIAL VARIATION, POPULATION-SIZE, NESTLING GROWTH

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MLA
Dekeukeleire, Daan et al. “Forest Fragmentation and Tree Species Composition Jointly Shape Breeding Performance of Two Avian Insectivores.” FOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT 443 (2019): 95–105. Print.
APA
Dekeukeleire, D., Hertzog, L., Vantieghem, P., van Schrojenstein Lantman, I., Sercu, B., Boonyarittichaikij, R., Martel, A., et al. (2019). Forest fragmentation and tree species composition jointly shape breeding performance of two avian insectivores. FOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT, 443, 95–105.
Chicago author-date
Dekeukeleire, Daan, Lionel Hertzog, Pieter Vantieghem, Irene van Schrojenstein Lantman, Bram Sercu, Roschong Boonyarittichaikij, An Martel, et al. 2019. “Forest Fragmentation and Tree Species Composition Jointly Shape Breeding Performance of Two Avian Insectivores.” Forest Ecology and Management 443: 95–105.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Dekeukeleire, Daan, Lionel Hertzog, Pieter Vantieghem, Irene van Schrojenstein Lantman, Bram Sercu, Roschong Boonyarittichaikij, An Martel, Kris Verheyen, Dries Bonte, Diederik Strubbe, and Luc Lens. 2019. “Forest Fragmentation and Tree Species Composition Jointly Shape Breeding Performance of Two Avian Insectivores.” Forest Ecology and Management 443: 95–105.
Vancouver
1.
Dekeukeleire D, Hertzog L, Vantieghem P, van Schrojenstein Lantman I, Sercu B, Boonyarittichaikij R, et al. Forest fragmentation and tree species composition jointly shape breeding performance of two avian insectivores. FOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT. 2019;443:95–105.
IEEE
[1]
D. Dekeukeleire et al., “Forest fragmentation and tree species composition jointly shape breeding performance of two avian insectivores,” FOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT, vol. 443, pp. 95–105, 2019.
@article{8612621,
  abstract     = {Habitat fragmentation and forestry practices affect forest structure and composition, and hence, their intrinsic value for biodiversity conservation. While higher tree species diversity is commonly proposed to result in habitat of higher quality for forest species, how these tree diversity and tree composition effects interact with forest fragmentation in terms of critical resources and demographic effects on forest birds remains poorly understood. We investigated here possible synergistic effects of forest fragmentation and tree species composition on the breeding performance of two common, insectivorous forest birds in a human-dominated landscape in northern Belgium. We monitored the breeding performance of Great Tits and Blue Tits in 53 plots across independent gradients of tree species composition and forest fragmentation. In addition, data on the biomass of the main food source of these two species (i.e. caterpillars) was collected during the breeding season. Both tree composition and habitat fragmentation impacted the breeding performance of Great and Blue Tits. Effects of tree species composition were mainly driven by tree species identity, rather than by tree species diversity, and the highest breeding performance was obtained in monocultures of Pedunculate Oaks. Fragmentation effects were only observed in resource-poor Beech monocultures with breeding performance declining with reduction in forest area. Structural Equation Modelling revealed diverse and species-specific pathways: for Great Tits tree composition effects on breeding performance were driven by resource availability while for Blue Tits these effects were driven by variation in clutch size. Thus, forestry practices aiming at promoting forest-dependent birds could benefit from including tree species that support high arthropod numbers and by maintaining forest patches of larger sizes.},
  author       = {Dekeukeleire, Daan and Hertzog, Lionel and Vantieghem, Pieter and van Schrojenstein Lantman, Irene and Sercu, Bram and Boonyarittichaikij, Roschong and Martel, An and Verheyen, Kris and Bonte, Dries and Strubbe, Diederik and Lens, Luc},
  issn         = {0378-1127},
  journal      = {FOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT},
  keywords     = {Great Tit,Parus major,Blue Tit,Cyanistes caeruleus,Frass,Caterpillars,Prey availability,Treeweb,HOLE-NESTING BIRDS,LONG-TERM DATA,HABITAT QUALITY,GREAT-TIT,CLUTCH-SIZE,BLUE TITS,REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS,SPATIAL VARIATION,POPULATION-SIZE,NESTLING GROWTH},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {95--105},
  title        = {Forest fragmentation and tree species composition jointly shape breeding performance of two avian insectivores},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2019.04.023},
  volume       = {443},
  year         = {2019},
}

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