Presentation Title

Comparing Stick Nest Sites Over an 18 Year Period: An Analysis of Stick Nest Habitat in the Hinton Forest Management Area

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented the Friday of the conference

Abstract

Forest management procedures often call for stick nests (as created by a number of forest birds) to be preserved where possible. We looked at the distribution of stick nests across a working-forest landscape, in west-central Alberta to determine if the locations of the nests, as amassed by forest workers between 1999 and 2017, appear randomly-distributed across the landscape or are biased towards various habitat metrics. There are two central research questions: A. Are habitat metrics associated with the stick nests markedly different from that generated randomly and B. Do these stick nest metrics remain consistent over time? I compiled spatial data from historic inventories of stick nests in this managed forest. Habitat information was then compiled using the most accurate GIS layers corresponding to the particular years of stick-nest reporting. I similarly collected data from paired, random plots. Metrics for review were pre-selected based on the existing body of knowledge and represented five spatial scales. Using conditional logistic regressions, models are being fitted to determine the best predictors of stick nest occurrence. Understanding how habitat attributes influence stick nest locations relative to forest attributes will allow forest managers to manage for suitable habitat conditions over extended periods of time and over large spatial areas, consistent with an ecosystem-based management approach. This work will further provide a context for appropriate monitoring programs and tracking of stick nests through time. As stick nests are a special management feature, this research will have implications for how stick nests are inventoried on the landscape, and may suggest how nesting behaviour by birds may shift across the shifting, successional landscape. Although my work is a pilot study, it will provide valuable information for future analysis, data collection, and planning.

Department

Natural Resource Science

Faculty Advisor

Karl Larsen

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Comparing Stick Nest Sites Over an 18 Year Period: An Analysis of Stick Nest Habitat in the Hinton Forest Management Area

Forest management procedures often call for stick nests (as created by a number of forest birds) to be preserved where possible. We looked at the distribution of stick nests across a working-forest landscape, in west-central Alberta to determine if the locations of the nests, as amassed by forest workers between 1999 and 2017, appear randomly-distributed across the landscape or are biased towards various habitat metrics. There are two central research questions: A. Are habitat metrics associated with the stick nests markedly different from that generated randomly and B. Do these stick nest metrics remain consistent over time? I compiled spatial data from historic inventories of stick nests in this managed forest. Habitat information was then compiled using the most accurate GIS layers corresponding to the particular years of stick-nest reporting. I similarly collected data from paired, random plots. Metrics for review were pre-selected based on the existing body of knowledge and represented five spatial scales. Using conditional logistic regressions, models are being fitted to determine the best predictors of stick nest occurrence. Understanding how habitat attributes influence stick nest locations relative to forest attributes will allow forest managers to manage for suitable habitat conditions over extended periods of time and over large spatial areas, consistent with an ecosystem-based management approach. This work will further provide a context for appropriate monitoring programs and tracking of stick nests through time. As stick nests are a special management feature, this research will have implications for how stick nests are inventoried on the landscape, and may suggest how nesting behaviour by birds may shift across the shifting, successional landscape. Although my work is a pilot study, it will provide valuable information for future analysis, data collection, and planning.