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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Gauging the Success of Timber Harvests Managed for Golden-winged Warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera): Characteristics and Territory Density within a Wetland Reference System
by McNeil, Darin James, Jr., M.S., Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2015, 123; 1605064
Abstract (Summary)

The Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) is an imperiled songbird that breeds in early-successional plant communities of eastern North America. Conservation efforts on the breeding grounds have become a priority because population declines are understood to be driven chiefly by the loss/degradation of breeding habitat. Although the species is known to use a variety of upland and wetland habitat types, most previous research on the species has been conducted solely in uplands. I studied Golden-winged Warbler use and habitat characteristics in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania. Density estimates suggest that both timber harvests and wetlands support similar densities of Golden-winged Warblers. Microhabitat occupancy models revealed that those wetlands I surveyed with high densities of 1-2 m tall shrubs (>2x as many shrubs) supported fewer Golden-winged Warblers whereas wetlands with more saplings (>2x as many saplings) and sedge cover (~1.3x as many sedge observations) supported more warblers. Finally, I found that macro-scale habitat variables that I quantified did not predict species occupancy of wetlands, likely due to the homogeneous nature of the study area. My study suggests that both wetlands and timber harvests have similar capacity to support Golden-winged Warblers. Further, wetlands in the Poconos should be evaluated at the microhabitat-scale for vegetative attributes that meet Golden-winged Warbler habitat requirements, rather than at the macro-habitat scale.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Larkin, Jeffery L.
Commitee: Duchamp, Joeseph E., Tyree, Michael C.
School: Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Department: Biology
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: MAI 55/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Management, Ecology
Keywords: Birds, Conservation, Golden-winged warbler, Pennsylvania, Timber harvest, Wetlands
Publication Number: 1605064
ISBN: 978-1-339-30246-1
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