Salvage logging changes the taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional successional trajectories of forest bird communities.

Published online
29 Dec 2020
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Georgiev, K. B. & Chao, A. & Castro, J. & Chen YanHan & Choi ChangYong & Fontaine, J. B. & Hutto, R. L. & Lee, E. J. & Müller, J. & Rost, J. & Żmihorski, M. & Thorn, S.
Contact email(s)

Publication language
North America & Europe & Asia


Salvage logging following natural disturbances may alter the natural successional trajectories of biological communities by affecting the occurrences of species, functional groups and evolutionary lineages. However, few studies have examined whether dissimilarities between bird communities of salvaged and unsalvaged forests are more pronounced for rare species, functional groups and evolutionary lineages than for their more common counterparts. We compiled data on breeding bird assemblages from nine study areas in North America, Europe and Asia, covering a 17-year period following wildfire or windstorm disturbances and subsequent salvage logging. We tested whether dissimilarities based on non-shared species, functional groups and evolutionary lineages (a) decreased or increased over time and (b) the responses of rare, common and dominant species varied, by using a unified statistical framework based on Hill numbers and null models. We found that dissimilarities between bird communities caused by salvage logging persisted over time for rare, common and dominant species, evolutionary lineages and for rare functional groups. Dissimilarities of common and dominant functional groups increased 14 years post disturbance. Salvage logging led to significantly larger dissimilarities than expected by chance. Functional dissimilarities between salvaged and unsalvaged sites were lower compared to taxonomic and phylogenetic dissimilarities. In general, dissimilarities were highest for rare, followed by common and dominant species. Synthesis and applications. Our research demonstrates that salvage logging did not decrease dissimilarities of bird communities over time and taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic dissimilarities persisted for over a decade. We recommend resource managers and decision makers to reserve portions of disturbed forest to enable unmanaged post-disturbance succession of bird communities, particularly to conserve rare species found in unsalvaged disturbed forests.

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