- Poulsen, John
The Graduate School The University of Maine
The effect of land use and landscape pattern upon birds in Nebraska farmland is explored. Chapter 1 summarizes the literature on the impact of agricultural activities upon birds. In Chapter 2,I examine the relationship between breeding birds and spatial land vegetative characteristics of windbreaks. A habitat suitability index model was found to fail in predicting species richness in windbreaks. I also compared the patterns of the bird community in the windbreaks and the 65-ha areas to examine 1) the relationship between the number of breeding bird species recorded within the wind breaks and the land use and other landscape metrics of the quarter-section (65 ha)in which the windbreak was located, and 2) whether the habitat suitability index model could be used as a predictor of the birds in the 65-ha areas. Observed and predicted species richness in the windbreaks were not related to the land use and landscape variables of the 65-ha areas, indicating that the environmental quality of the windbreaks was independent of its landscape context. Bird species richness of the 65-ha areas was not related to that of the windbreak, particularly so in most wooded areas. This masked guild-specific responses: most wooded areas lacked most forest-edge and forest-interior species in the windbreak, and there were fewer grassland-edge species at windbreaks inmost wooded sites.