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Optimal Habitat Configuration for Mature-Forest and Scrub-Shrub Birds


August 2009 - October 2010


Declines in populations of mature-forest and scrub-shrub birds have caused concern among managers (King et al. 2006a, Schlossberg and King 2007). Managers have long assumed that promoting either mature-forest or scrub-shrub bird groups involves a direct tradeoff, i.e., managing against the other group. However, recent research indicates otherwise. Early-successional habitat has been shown to benefit forest-interior birds during the post-breeding period (when adults molt) and the post-fledging period, when young birds have left the nest but are still dependent on their parents. Post-fledging birds suffer high mortality, which significantly impacts population dynamics (King et al. 2006b). The habitat needs of many forest-interior bird species apparently switch between the nesting and post-fledging periods (King et al. 2006b). Many post-breeding forest birds use scrub-shrub habitats and some appear to prefer that habitat over mature forest (Chandler et al. In Prep b). Depending on scale and configuration, the positive effects of scrub-shrub habitat availability on survival rates of forest-interior birds�fledglings and post-breeding adults�likely outweigh the relatively minor negative effects on nesting success, especially when renesting rates are considered


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 3

Masters Students: 5

Phd Students: 11

Post Docs: 2

University Staff: 1

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 69

Scientific Publications: 35

Presentations: 148



  • Stephen DeStefanoPrincipal Investigator
  • David KingCo-Principal Investigator
  • Scott SchlossbergCo-Principal Investigator

Funding Agencies

  • Quick Response


Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
  2. Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey
  5. University of Massachusetts
  6. Wildlife Management Institute