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Effects of forest structure, management and landscape on bird and bat communities



Sustainable forest management aims to produce wood while preserving habitats for biodiversity, which is particularly challenging for vertebrates with local and landscape scale requirements, such as birds or bats. Managers need additional scientific evidence to help them balance conservative and integrative management methods. In this study, the relative influence of management abandonment, stand structure and landscape features on bird and bat communities in 14 managed and unmanaged forests in France is evaluated. Total birds and bats richness, richness for forest and threatened birds and edge-specialized bats significantly increased with total deadwood quantities. Richness of generalist, omnivorous and cavity-nesting birds was higher in unmanaged stands and richness of gleaner bats was positively influenced by the density of standing deadwood. By contrast, landscape variables had little influence on the different ecological groups but did have effects on individual species. Though the effects showed relatively limited magnitude, this study supports the value of deadwood and the importance of management abandonment for forest vertebrates. This study confirms that for integrated conservation strategies to be fully efficient they must be complemented by designating strict forest reserves because some target species groups depend on structural features found only at sufficient levels in those areas.


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*Correspondence: Yoan Paillet e-mail:


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Effects of forest structure, management and landscape on bird and bat communities



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