Silvicultural treatments prescribed to enhance wildlife habitat by promoting structural heterogeneity via retention of large live trees, snags, and coarse woody debris has been termed wildlife-forestry. Wildlife-forestry has been advocated for management of bottomland hardwood forests on public conservation lands within the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, USA. On Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Louisiana, we used distance sampling during 6 visits to 138 point locations to estimate avian densities within stands subjected to variable-retention harvests, within a 13-year chronosequence, and untreated control stands. Densities of 9 species, including 6 species of conservation concern, were greater in treated stands than on untreated stands. Five species responded negatively to treatments and had greater densities in untreated control stands. Based on conservation concern scores established by Partners in Flight and annual detections of each of 30 species, treated stands afforded greater community-wide bird conservation than did untreated stands. For most species, maximum treatment response was between 5 years and 8 years posttreatment with duration of treatment effect <13 years. Therefore, habitat conditions on treated stands should be reevaluated at circa 15-year intervals and, if warranted, additional silvicultural treatment prescribed to rejuvenate habitat conditions.
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Vol. 73 • No. 7