Article II. Stable landscapes help maintain stable bird communities
Martínez Salinas, María A.
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Forest conversion to agriculture remains a major threat to biodiversity conservation. Land use practices in Central America have produced a variety of studies that are focused towards avian conservation. In order to expand upon our understanding of how land use practices influence avian conservation, we aimed to evaluate inter- and intra-annual avian community change over a seven year period in land uses predominant within the Volcanica Central Talamanca Biological Corridor (VCTBC) in Costa Rica. We selected eight land uses following a management intensity gradient from forests to sugar cane to test impacts of landuse cascade effects. Using captured data from long-term mist-netting stations we found that the majority of monitored land uses are capable of supporting stable bird communities. Stability understood as no changes from year to year in mean species richness and abundance of either the total population, or of resident and migratory species over a seven-year period. We also found that the forest land use has a unique bird community composition when compared to other land uses, and that agroforest land uses such as multi strata coffee agroforest, multi strata cacao agroforest and simplified coffee agroforest had similar composition between them but distinct from forest and from the more intensively managed land uses. Our findings provide further evidence on the land-use cascade effect as composition of bird communities changed as we moved in a gradient of management intensification highlighting the importance of forest fragments, remaining in agricultural landscapes, for the persistence of bird species of conservation concern.