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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2005

Age-related effects of clear-cut-old forest edges on bird communities in Lithuania

Brazaitis G, Roberge JM, Angelstam P, Marozas V, Petelis K


The influence of forestry-induced edges on plant and animal communities is dynamic in time, a fact that has been overlooked in many studies on the edge effect. This study assessed age-related changes in edge effects on breeding forest birds after clear-cutting in mixed deciduous old forest in south-west Lithuania. In total, 182 transects starting at the edge and extending 200 m into the forest were visited twice during the breeding season. The mean abundance of birds was higher in the 10 m wide zone closest to the edge than farther inside the forest (10-200 m from the edge) and increased in this 10 in wide zone from young edges (1-3 years) to middle-aged (4-9 years) and old (10-20 years) edges. The edge influence on the structure of forest bird communities penetrated deeper and deeper into the forest during the first 20 years after clear-cutting: young edges were characterized by a 50 m wide zone of influence into the forest, middle-aged edges by a 90 m wide zone and old edges by a 120 m wide zone. Based on changes in bird community patterns along transects penetrating into the forest, four zones were distinguished: the edge contact zone, the main edge zone, the intermediate zone and the forest interior zone

Published in

Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research
2005, Volume: 20, pages: 59-67