Conventional oil and gas development alters forest songbird communities
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The Journal of Wildlife Management. 78(2): 293-306.
Energy extraction within forest habitat is increasing at a rapid rate throughout eastern North America from the combined presence of conventional oil and gas, shale gas, and wind energy. We examined the effects of conventional oil and gas development on forest habitat including amounts of core and edge forest, the abundance of songbird species and guilds, species diversity, and community similarity within and between mixed hardwood and oak forest types at both individual wells (local scale) and at the 25-ha scale at differing levels of well density: reference (0 wells/site, 0wells/km2), low (1-5 wells/site, 4-20 wells/km2), and high (10-15 wells/site, 40-60 wells/km2). Amount of cleared area, length of roads, and amount of edge increased with increasing well density, whereas amount of core forest declined. At high well densities, 85% of the study site remained forested, but the mean amount of core forest declined from 68% to 2%. Specific changes to forest structure associated with oil and gas development included decreases in basal area and canopy cover within 20m of individual wells and with increasing well density.
KeywordsAllegheny National Forest; biotic homogenization; community structure; forest fragmentation; forest songbirds; guilds; oil and gas development
Thomas, Emily H.; Brittingham, Margaret C.; Stoleson, Scott H. 2014. Conventional oil and gas development alters forest songbird communities. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 78(2): 293-306. https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.662.