Effects of Hardwood Control and Switchgrass Intercropping on Breeding Bird Communities and Resource Use in Managed Loblolly Pine Stands in Mississippi
AdvisorRush, Scott A.
CommitteeMiller, Darren A.
Evans, Kristine O.
Managed loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) stands are common in the southeastern United States and provide young forest conditions for early successional breeding birds. Common pine management practices (e.g. hardwood control) and novel practices (e.g. switchgrass [Panicum virgatum] intercropping), may influence breeding bird use. I evaluated breeding bird abundance, diversity, and resource use within loblolly stands treated to control hardwood species, intercropped with switchgrass, and with no additional management. Hardwood control and switchgrass intercropping both decreased hardwoods and shrubs, and increased forbs. Switchgrass intercropping increased some early successional bird abundances. However, diversity was not different among treatments. Switchgrass intercropping increased 13C:12C in birds and vegetation; both hardwood control and switchgrass intercropping increased 15N:14N in birds and vegetation. Birds moved freely among stands of different ages and management practices. My results suggest these practices improve conditions for some early successional birds and may help maintain ecological value of loblolly stands for birds.