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Title: Habitat mosaics and understory bird communities in Mexican cloud forest
Author: Villegas-Patraca, R.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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This research attempts to explain the effects of cloud forest patches (natural forest and coffee plantations) on bird diversity. Bird communities have been surveyed in 4 habitat types by point counts and mist-net techniques. The surveys were taken across a gradient from extensive primary and relatively undistributed forest to intensive agricultural land uses (coffee plantations). Patterns of bird populations (species richness, abundance, density and community composition) and patch characteristics (size, altitudinal range, and topographic complexity) were analysed over this gradient. In a total of 4560 bird census, 294 species, 168 genera and 41 families were recorded in point counts. In the practices of CF, from a total of 256 bird species, 36 were migratory and 53 have some status of conservation. In the patches of coffee plantations from a total of 159 species, 49 were migratory and 52 were under some status of conservation. Forest habitats, including continuous and patch forests, and shade coffee plantations, are found to support the most species and individuals. Nearctic-Neotropical migratory species are most numerous in shade coffee. Bird communities in shade coffee (natural and Inga) are characterised by a high proportion of frugivorous and nectarivorous species, than communities in native forests. Using mist-net techniques, a total of 105 species, 87 genera and 23 families of birds were captured in 1600 net/hours for all the habitats. The size of forest patch is the main characteristic affecting forest interior and generalist species. Decreasing forest patch sizes appears to have unfavourable effects on forest generalist birds and positive effects on forest border species. The bird species most sensitive to forest fragmentation are those species restricted to the forest interior. The species richness and abundance demonstrate that many human-altered habitats are potentially valuable for birds. Further conservation efforts in tropical areas need to give more attention to the significance of agricultural lands as wildlife habitats.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available