Technical ReportPDF Available

Guidelines for Managing Canada Warbler Habitat in the Atlantic Northern Forest of Canada


Abstract and Figures

This technical report on managing Canada Warbler habitat in Bird Conservation Region 14 in Canada is intended to be paired with spatial prioritization modelling for conservation and management. Please visit the project webpage to see all reports, papers and data in English and French at
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Guidelines for Managing Canada Warbler Habitat in the
Atlantic Northern Forest of Canada
This project originated from Canada Warbler International Conservation Initiative (CWICI) work
towards a full life-cycle conservation plan. At a 2015 CWICI workshop, habitat requirements of
the Canada Warbler on the breeding grounds was identified as a major knowledge gap. One of the
most widely-supported actions was to develop guidelines for those interested in conserving or
managing Canada Warbler habitat. Pour la version française, cliquez ici.
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) contributed in part to the preparation of these
guidelines with a contract to High Branch Conservation Services. The project builds upon a
recent effort, funded by the Northeast Regional Conservation Needs Program, to develop habitat
guidelines for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. We thank the twenty-
one conservation, wildlife, and forestry professionals from nine regions (provinces and states)
who provided comments on earlier drafts of this publication. We are also grateful to those who
generously provided unpublished reports, photos, and expert opinion, including: Karen
McKendry (Nova Scotia Nature Trust), Doug Van Hemessen (Nature Conservancy of Canada),
Patrick Nussey (Nature Conservancy of Canada), and Sean Lemoine (Canadian Wildlife Service).
Finally, we acknowledge the experts who contributed to the related US publication, Guidelines
for Managing Canada Warbler Habitat in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions.
Recommendations made in this report reflect the authors’ opinions and are based on a thorough
review of the relevant literature, including an analysis of habitat in western Nova Scotia and
several empirical studies conducted within 150 km of the focal region in Vermont, New
Hampshire, and Maine. Future updates of this document should incorporate new knowledge and
results from eastern Canada as they become available.
Text by Alana Westwood (Boreal Avian Modelling Project), Charlotte Harding, Len Reitsma
(Plymouth State University), and Dan Lambert (High Branch Conservation Services).
Report template by Dan Lambert and Len Reitsma. Cover photos: top row (l-r) Nature
Conservancy of Canada, Len Reitsma, Laura Achenbach and John Brazner; center William H.
Majoros (CC BY-SA 3.0), bottom row (l-r) Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren (CC BY 2.0),
Brian Gratwicke (CC BY 2.0), Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren (CC BY 2.0).
Recommended Citation
Westwood, A., C. Harding, L. Reitsma, and D. Lambert. 2017. Guidelines for Managing Canada
Warbler Habitat in the Atlantic Northern Forest of Canada. High Branch Conservation Services.
Hartland, VT.
Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 1
Where to Create and Sustain Habitat ................................................................................... 3
Desired Habitat Conditions ................................................................................................... 5
Recommended Practices ...................................................................................................... 9
Managing for Multiple Benefits .......................................................................................... 12
References ......................................................................................................................... 15
Field Guide to Managing Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) Habitat ....................... 18
Appendix I: Partial review of forestry and wildlife legislation and policy applying to
management of the Canada Warbler in the Atlantic Northern Forest of Canada ............... 20
Species profile
The Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) is a small, active songbird with a slate-
colored back, bright yellow underparts, and a distinct whitish eye-ring. A necklace of
bold, black streaks adorns males of the species, but is less distinct on females and young
birds. This long-distance migrant is insectivorous and relies on dense understory
vegetation for foraging and cover.1,2 It nests in forests on or near the ground, usually in
mossy hummocks or beneath root masses, ferns, or other ground features.3,4 Its breeding
range extends from eastern British Columbia, across southern Canada and the Great
Lakes region to Nova Scotia as well as south along the Appalachian highlands from New
England to northern Georgia. Canada Warblers overwinter in northwestern South
America, primarily in and east of the Andean foothills.5
The Atlantic Northern Forest
of Canada includes the
Canadian portion of Bird
Conservation Region (BCR)
14. This encompasses the
Gaspé Pensinula and South St.
Lawrence River of Québec
(QC), New Brunswick (NB),
Nova Scotia (NS) and Prince
Edward Island (PEI).
In this region, Canada
Warblers are often found in
moist-to-wet deciduous and
mixed forests with a dense understory of shrub or fern foliage, openings in the canopy,
emergent song perches, and uneven ground littered with woody debris.6,7 Forested
wetlands, bog edges, riparian thickets, and small seeps between upland forest stands
provide suitable habitat for this insectivore, as do regenerating harvest gaps, and natural
canopy gaps in wet forests. Habitat requirements in much of this region share some
similarities with the northeastern US, where Canada Warblers are most abundant in moist
deciduous and mixed forests that feature canopy openings,8,9 exposed song perches and
uneven ground littered with woody debris.4,6,10 Breeding territories often occur in
clusters11 which consist of several breeding pairs in relatively close proximity to each
other. In the Canadian portion of BCR 14, Canada Warblers typically arrive in mid-to-
late May and leave for their wintering grounds in late August.12
Predicted population density of Canada warbler in the Atlantic
Northern Forest of Canada in 2012, ranging from low to high.48
Status and conservation concerns
The Canada Warbler is listed as
Threatened in Canada under the
Species at Risk Act13 and as a
Species of Greatest Conservation
Need in nearly every US state
where it breeds. Provincially, it is
listed as Endangered in Nova
Scotia,14 Threatened in New
Brunswick,15 and as a species
likely to be designated as
threatened or vulnerable in
Québec.16 Its NatureServe ranking
is S3B (uncommon, breeding) in
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, S2M (imperiled, migrant) in PEI, and S3S4B
(uncommon to widespread, breeding) in Québec.17,18 Canada Warbler populations in
BCR 14 have declined by an average of 4.2% per year since 1970 and 2.9% per year
since 2005, with the strongest declines occurring in New Brunswick.19
The decline could be partly explained by low survival of first year birds,20 particularly on
the wintering grounds where agricultural development has caused significant forest loss
and fragmentation. Canada Warblers also face a relatively high risk of mortality from
collisions with buildings during migration.21 Threats to breeding habitat vary regionally,
but include loss of forested habitat, degradation of wooded wetlands, and over-browsing
of the understory by deer.5 Effects of these factors on Canada Warbler populations in the
Atlantic Northern Forest remain unknown. Likewise, it is not clear how forest
management has influenced regional populations.
Canada Warblers receive legal protections under the Species at Risk Act,13 that states no
person shall kill, harm, harass, capture or take an individual nor damage or destroy its
residence (i.e., nest) or critical habitat (if designated). The Government of Canada’s
Recovery Strategy for the Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) in Canada contains
more discussion of issues related to habitat quantity and quality.
Purpose of the guidelines
The purpose of these habitat management guidelines is to describe the conditions and
processes thought to benefit Canada Warblers and other native species that depend on
similar habitats in the focal region (see Table 1 for a list of associated species). We hope
that public and private land managers, forestry professionals, and conservation planners
find the guidelines useful in accomplishing their stewardship objectives.
Figure 1a. Canada Warbler breeding range
(NatureServe ____)
Figure 1b. Canada Warbler population
trends, 1966-2013 (Sauer et al. 2014)
Canada Warbler population trends, 1966-2012.49
Effective approaches to conserving Canada Warblers and associated species will vary
throughout the region, depending on prevailing land uses, threats to the species, and
wildlife management priorities. In recognition of this heterogeneity, these guidelines
offer a range of forest conservation and management strategies that can be selectively
applied based on local knowledge and stewardship objectives. We separate sections of
the guidelines into two groups: those targeted at wet-poor forest ecosystems, and those
for upland habitats. In general, forest preservation may be effective for sustaining Canada
Warbler populations on large tracts that contain the requisite wet mixedwood/deciduous
forest composition, vertical canopy structure, and ground complexity. Harvest-based
strategies are likely to be most useful in areas of active forest management, especially
large holdings that include upland habitats and/or forested wetlands. In these areas,
managers can ensure that suitable habitat for Canada Warbler is growing into place as
older habitat ages or is removed by harvesting.
This report summarizes our best understanding of how landscape and stand-level features
relate to Canada Warbler abundance in the Atlantic Northern Forest. However, few
studies have examined Canada Warbler habitat quality or response to forest management
in the eastern provinces. Therefore, descriptions of desired conditions and recommended
practices draw heavily from research conducted in adjacent regions (primarily the
northern New England states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine). We advise
caution in applying these guidelines to areas with very little empirical data (e.g., PEI and
QC), and suggest this document be periodically updated to reflect new knowledge.
Where to Create and Sustain Habitat
Landscape characteristics
Efforts to conserve Canada Warbler
habitat should focus on forested
ecosystems that are likely to maintain
suitable conditions over time,
especially poorly drained areas where
saturated soils and standing water
favor the dominance of shrubs in a
treed habitat with broken canopy
cover. Wetland and riparian forest
canopies are frequently disturbed by
beaver activity and by the mortality
and subsequent uprooting of shallow-
rooted trees, which creates canopy
gaps and promotes the growth of dense
Canada Warbler habitat on the Chignecto Isthmus
of Nova Scotia, near Pugwash. Characteristic dense
shrubby understory in canopy gaps, among small
trees, provides ideal cover for nesting and foraging.
Photo by Nature Conservancy of Canada.
shrubby understory that provides protective cover for nesting and foraging. In addition,
swamps and streamside forests supply abundant flying insects to feed breeding adults and
their offspring.
Landscapes managed for forest
products, among other values, can
also supply Canada Warbler
habitat. A well-planned harvest
regime can ensure a spatially
dynamic and continuous supply of
young forest that can provide
habitat characteristics needed by
this species, if the effects of
fragmentation are limited. A viable
forest products industry may also
safeguard against agricultural,
residential, and urban
development, which have degraded
breeding habitat in more densely
populated regions, particularly in
the northeastern US.
Silvicultural approaches to habitat
management are best suited to large
industry holdings and Crown lands
leased for forestry operations.
These present the opportunity to
maintain desired conditions across
major management units. Small
woodlots and forest reserves can
play a complementary role if they
help to uphold wetland integrity
and forest cover across the region.
Landscape configuration of
Canada Warbler appears to be
important. Levels of abundance
and occupancy are positively correlated with forest area and continuity.2224, although the
minimum required area is not known. For most of this region, Canada Warblers
preferentially select landscapes with >50% forest cover,25 especially in those landscapes
that contain woodland tracts of 400 hectares or more.24 Another study, from the
northeastern US, found that where Canada Warblers use wet areas they are more likely to
Locations of Canada Warblers (yellow circles) defending
breeding territories near recent clearcuts (~2-5 years) in
southwestern Nova Scotia. Data from Cindy Staicer,
Dahousie University; basemap © ESRI 2014
Deciduous shrubs, saplings, and small trees (2-6 m high)
provide ideal cover for Canada Warbler nesting and
foraging in a mature stand. Photo by Ben Kimball.
inhabit small forested wetlands than large open wetlands or forested wetlands isolated by
development. Also, treed swamps with heterogeneous edges and long, irregular
perimeters appeared to offer more habitat value than those with simple boundaries.22
The accompanying map products, “Spatial Management Planning for Canada Warbler in
the Atlantic Northern Forest” (available via Nature Canada and BAM), give insight into
opportunities for conservation and management. These products detail scenarios for areas
intended for forest preservation, and for areas under active forest management. These will
help users target areas for management interventions as well as avoid impacting high
population centres for the Canada Warbler. We encourage managers and woodlot owners
to download these products and consider their relevance to their own land holdings.
Desired Habitat Conditions
Forest composition
Composition of Canada
Warbler habitat has been
researched unevenly across the
Atlantic Northern Forest (see
map at right), but a growing
number of studies suggest some
variation in habitat association
across the region. Across most
of Atlantic Canada, this species
is found in wet areas, including
treed swamps, treed fens, and
treed peatlands. At higher
elevations, they also use talus
slopes and upland seeps
embedded within hardwood
stands. We were unable to find
suitable studies and data for the
development of these
guidelines in Cape Breton
(NS), the Gaspé Peninsula and South St. Lawrence (QC), or PEI (though PEI lacks
evidence of an established breeding populations). As such, we recommend these
guidelines be interpreted with caution and may not be suitable in areas with no
quantitative or qualitative information (see map). In particular, users should be cautious
in the inland northeastern portion of the Gaspé Peninsula in Québec, which represents the
border between the Great Lake-St Lawrence forest and the Acadian forest, as well as any
areas considered boreal or hemiboreal forest zones within BCR14.
Map showing available data on Canada Warbler habitat in the
Canadian ecoregions of the Atlantic Northern Forest, as well as
sites from the U.S. for which quantitative data is available.
In mainland Nova Scotia, Canada Warblers breed in wet canopy gaps of mixedwood
forest with a large component of black spruce, red maple, and to a lesser extent, red
spruce and balsam fir. Shrub species include speckled alder, wild raisin, mountain holly,
rhodora and/or Canada holly with an understory of cinnamon fern and sphagnum moss.
Canada Warbler habitats mainly occur in Nova Scotia Forest Ecosystem Classification
ecosites 4, 8, and 12.6 Rarely, Canada Warblers are found in eastern white cedar swamps
in southwestern Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
In southern New Brunswick,
Canada Warbler breeding habitats
are similar in vegetation
composition to Nova Scotia, but
with more sphagnum moss and
less cinnamon fern. Bare ground
has been observed at some sites, as
well as a prevalence of balsam fir
regeneration. In some areas of
New Brunswick and PEI, this
species uses more calcareous
wetlands, including seeps in
upland hardwood habitats with
Wyellow birch and black ash. In
Québec, Canada Warblers make greater use of seeps between upland habitats than wet
forest sites, as well as regenerating forest stands, though data are scarce.
However, information about Canada Warbler productivity is not available from the
Canadian portion of the Atlantic Northern forest and further research is needed to fill data
gaps. Still, research conducted in adjacent states indicate that that Canada Warblers select
habitat based more on understory structure than vegetation species composition.10,27
Forest structure
Throughout this region, Canada Warblers select structurally complex forests featuring a
broken or partially open canopy with prominent song perches visible above a leafy
understory and uneven forest floor.6,28,29 However, in Québec, one study found that
Canada Warblers will use stands with canopy cover of at least 80%, as well as strong
sapling cover.26 Canada Warblers will use both unharvested wet forests, as well as
regenerating mesic and upland areas following even-aged and partial harvests.1,4,8,9,3034
Canada Warbler habitat in a red maple swamp, with a wet
forest floor and thick cover of cinnamon fern. Photo by
John Brazner & Laura Achenbach.
Dense shrub cover of speckled alder (Alnus incana subsp.
incana) in Canada Warbler habitat in south-central Nova
Scotia. Photo by Cindy Staicer.
Specific elements contributing to
structural complexity differ somewhat
among regions, landforms, and forest
types. Although most of the studies
referenced were conducted outside the
Canadian portion of BCR 14, the
conditions described are generally
consistent with qualitative descriptions
of Canada Warbler habitat in the
Atlantic Northern Forest (with
exceptions in Québec, though these
guidelines may best apply to the Sugar
Maple Linden forest areas).
In general, for both mature wet forest
and regenerating upland forest, we
recommend the following structure:
Canopy height (overstory): <16 m
Canopy cover (overstory): 5-85%
Basal area of overstory trees: <20
m2/ha 6,8,9,32,36
Subcanopy height: 1.8-5 m 6,27,34,37
Subcanopy cover: 40-70% 4,6 with
high foliage volume 29
Moderate to high density of woody
shrubs and saplings 4,29,34
> 12 song perch trees
per ha; may
occur individually, at the edges of
forest openings, or aggregated in
small groups so as to provide 5-10
“singing areas” per ha 29,35
4.5 m of open canopy around or
adjacent to each of these singing
areas 29,3840
Whereby song perch trees are any tree that emerges above the subcanopy (3 m) and is spatially distinct
from neighbouring trees
Male Canada Warbler singing from display perch
Québec. Photo by Carl Savignac.
Canada Warblers nest in area of high downed woody
debris and high ground cover for concealment. Photo by
Michael Williams.
Uneven forest floor with downed woody material (logs, branches, stumps, and root
masses) comprising >10% of the ground cover 3,4,6,35
Moderate to high herbaceous plant, fern and moss cover (but not strictly ferns) 25,35
To function as Canada Warbler habitat, suitable forest structure should predominate over
at least 0.5 ha, the average size of a territory core. Because full territories average
between 0.7 and 1.5 ha and are frequently clustered in neighborhoods,11 large patches
with > 4 ha of suitable habitat offer more value than small patches. Forested connections
among habitat patches also enhance their value.
Forest age and configuration
As Canada Warblers breed in both uneven-aged forests, including mature wet forests,6,27
and young, even-aged stands (saplings to poles),1 we separate our recommendations
based on forest group: mature wet forest, and upland regenerating forest.
Mature wet forest
Forested wetlands and naturally disturbed areas in old forests (such as those
maintained by gap dynamics) often provide habitat where occupancy can be sustained
over time, unlike harvested areas, which undergo successional changes.
Habitat quality may be higher in naturally occurring wet forests than human-disturbed
upland forests, but the data required for such a comparison are lacking.29
Upland regenerating forest
Light partial harvests which retain understory shrubs and residual trees may increase
abundance of Canada Warblers over other harvesting methods like clearcuts.4,8,9,31
Based on review of areas where harvests have occurred, Canada Warblers are most
abundant after regenerating saplings become well established among residual trees,
providing suitable structure after 3-10 years, and persisting for a further 15 years or
more. Timing is influenced by site conditions, pre-existing and retained understory,
and browsing pressure, and likely neighbourhood demographics.4,8,26,33,34,36,41,42
Abundance decreases as shrub layer cover is reduced.23
Canada Warblers may not colonize in clearcuts > 1 ha if no trees are retained.
However, males may use perimeter trees for song perches and visual display.4
Residual patch retention of at least 30%, preferably in large groupings of trees, may
promote Canada Warbler abundance.38,40,43
Recommended Practices
Based on reviewing scientific literature for potential effects of common conservation and
forestry practices on Canada Warbler, we recommend the following general methods to
maintain and create habitat. Each province administers regulations to protect habitat
along watercourses, in wetlands, and in other habitat occupied by species at risk. Refer to
Appendix I for a summary of legal requirements in your region.
Specific interventions should be tailored to each site’s conditions and regional context. In
certain areas, the best approach to sustaining Canada Warblers and associated species
may be conservation of forested tracts that include suitable habitat. Elsewhere, active
management may be effective at promoting desired conditions. Managers can refer to the
appropriate spatial prioritization that accompanies this report for suggested areas to apply
conservation and management techniques on their landholdings. Managers who
encounter difficulty in selecting among land conservation and forest management
practices are encouraged to consult their local or provincial wildlife biologists for
guidance. For definitions of forestry terminology, see this glossary.
Land conservation
We recommend the strategies below for use by conservation planners and land trust
personnel working in regions with low to moderate levels of human development. These
may also be appropriate for designating reserves or special treatment areas in managed
forest landscapes. See Scenario 1 maps for suggested conservation areas.
Focus conservation resources on large forested areas (>400 ha) where Canada
Warblers are known to occur, especially where wet forest, dense understory, and
relatively open canopy are naturally maintained (e.g., red maple swamps, peatlands,
ravines, and treed bogs). Minimize forest loss and fragmentation within such areas
and consider reforestation of adjacent lands as opportunities allow.
Conserve forest blocks with low edge-to-interior ratios to maximize forest cores and
minimize edge effects such as nest predation and penetration of invasive plants. For
guidance, refer to ECCC’s publication How Much Habitat Is Enough?.
Connect suitable habitat patches with forested corridors to connect individuals with
potential breeding sites during dispersal. Shrubby utility rights-of-way may serve this
connecting function. Develop easements and stewardship plans that allow for forest
management where it has potential to improve Canada Warbler habitat.
Consider connectivity at regional scales.
Forest management planning and forestry operations
The following strategies are intended for
landowners, land managers, and forestry
To provide a continuous supply of breeding
habitat, always maintain 12-20% of the
managed forestland in a suitable condition.
Avoid harvesting and road building in
forested wetlands.
Use natural Canada Warbler population
centres (e.g., red maple swamps, black
spruce/red maple bogs) by harvesting nearby
upland stands at least every 15 years.
Implement silvicultural systems that are most
likely to produce the desired conditions: gap-
group shelterwood cuts, seed-tree cuts, and
clearcutting with reserves.
Where engaging in natural dynamics forestry,
harvest trees in 0.2-0.8 ha groups, with mid-
story trees left scattered in the openings.
Spatially and temporally cluster the harvests
to increase probability of occupancy.
Maintain a mix of hardwoods and softwoods
at stand and landscape levels by using natural
regeneration forestry and limiting hardwood
herbicides on softwood sites.
Implement thinning and/or crop-tree release
after the stand height exceeds 4.5-6 m to open
the canopy and enhance understory structure
(see top right).
In harvest areas >1 ha, retain at least 12
standing trees/ha that reach at least 1 m above
the subcanopy and range from large saplings
to trees <15 m in height. They should be
dispersed individually or grouped in 5-10
clumps (depending on conditions and tree
species), with at least 4.5 m of separation
among these singing/visual display centres.
Manual and cut-to-length harvesting affords
opportunities to enhance forest floor
structure by topping and delimbing at the
stump. Harvests conducted by feller-buncher
call for other approaches to retain debris on
site, including retaining low-quality standing
trees. Photo by Bill Stack.
Stand in northern Maine, thinned stand in o
promote dense understory structure. Photo
by Dan Lambert.
Follow ECCC’s guidance to reduce incidental take for technical information on
nesting periods and zones to support activity planning to reduce risks to migratory
birds, their nests and eggs. Avoid engaging in potentially destructive or disruptive
activities in key sensitive periods and locations. If nests containing eggs or young are
encountered, the area should be avoided until the young have naturally left the
vicinity, even if the nest was found outside the dates of the general nesting period.
Minimize compaction of soil (especially organic surface horizons) and removal of
ground vegetation, moss cover, downed woody material, stumps, hummocks, and root
masses of ferns and trees. These essential habitat features conceal nests and offer
protective cover to parents tending eggs and young.
Where possible, harvest on snowpack and restrict heavy machines to temporary
routes and landings.
Protect patches of advanced regeneration and woody material by minimizing travel
and maximizing trail-spacing and machine reach. Patches measuring 0.1-0.2 ha may
serve as future territory cores.
If practical, top and delimb trees near the stump to enhance woody debris and forest
floor structure.
General Recommendations
Restrict off-road use of all-terrain vehicles.
Limit beaver trapping where they are not damaging roads or high-value timber, as
they create irregular wet habitats used by Canada Warblers.
Follow best practices in invasive plant control in areas where invasive plants are
common or a threat.
cc by Keith Williams
Vial 2010
Managing for Multiple Benefits
Current understanding of Canada Warbler ecology is incomplete, particularly with
respect to area requirements, site fidelity, population characteristics, and reproductive
performance. However, we can use knowledge of this bird’s habitat associations to
provide a foundation for stewardship actions that benefit wildlife and people.
Associated species
Throughout the year, a wide variety of native wildlife makes use of the dense cover and
abundant food resources that characterize regenerating forests and canopy gaps within
mature forests. Table 1 lists species likely to co-occur with Canada Warblers, although
associated species may vary throughout the range. Maintaining uneven-aged moist-to-wet
mixedwood and deciduous forests, as well as open bogs, shrub swamps, and
herbaceous/shrub floodplains as Canada Warbler habitat could benefit co-occurring
species, such as the Olive-sided Flycatcher and Rusty Blackbird.6
Managing forests for Canada Warblers may also benefit other listed species at risk,
including the Olive-sided Flycatcher, Canada Lynx, and Wood Turtle.
Table 1. A partial list of species likely to co-occur with Canada Warbler listed by the Atlantic
Canada Conservation Data Centre as ranging from critically imperilled to apparently secure,
uncommon but not rare, some cause for long-term concern. Species of high or very high regional
concern are shown in bold. Species co-occurrence varies across the region.
Overlapping habitat(s)
Blue-spotted Salamander (Ambystoma
Moist-to-wet forests, vernal pools
Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium
Mature damp forests with dense canopy
cover and complex floor structure
Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor)
Moist-to-wet forests, vernal pools
Black and White Warbler (Mniotilta varia)
Uneven-aged mixedwood and deciduous
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Dendroica
Mature deciduous or mixedwood forests
with a dense understory
Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga
Mixedwood forest
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)
Forests with a coniferous component,
including spruce bogs
Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis)
Forests with a coniferous component,
including spruce bogs
Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus
Uneven-aged mixedwood and deciduous
forests and edges with snags
Northern Waterthrush (Seiurus
Wet forests, damp thickets, alder swales
Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus
Bog edges, black spruce wetlands
Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus)
Vernal pools, swamps, red maple
Tennesee Warbler (Vermivora peregrine)
Bogs, alder thickets
Veery (Catharus fuscescens)
Areas of dense understory and shrub
cover near to water sources
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax
Bogs, edges of moist mixedwoods
Boreal felt lichen (Erioderma
Uneven-aged forested wetlands
American Marten (Martes americana)
Mature mixedwood forest
Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis)
Mature forests with dense undercover
and downed wood for denning
Northern Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia
Bogs with cover of sphagnum, including
black spruce bogs
Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)
Wet forests with a red maple component
Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia
Moist acidic forests, similar habitat to
cinnamon fern
Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)
Vernal pools, wetland edges
Eastern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
Cedar swamps provide habitat
Ecosystem services
In addition to wildlife conservation, many
other ecological and social benefits arise
from sustainable management of Canada
Warbler habitat. These include: water
quality protection, flood regulation,
enhanced pollinator populations within
shrubby openings, and support for local
economies that rely on the forest products
industry and nature-based recreation.
Furthermore, Canada Warblers and other
birds help control invertebrate pests, eating
large volumes of Spruce Budworm larvae
and other insect species in eastern forests.
Comprehensive planning
When implementing these guidelines, forest stewards should weigh the possible impacts
on other species of concern not associated with Canada Warbler habitat. For example,
conversion of older forests to young stands may adversely affect mature forest birds, such
as Northern Goshawk and Blackburnian Warbler, unless measures are taken to sustain
mature forests in the surrounding landscape. However, many mature forest species make
extensive use of young forest during the post-breeding period to be successful,
underscoring the importance of patch configuration for natal dispersal and pre-migratory
movement.4447 Managers of large properties and regional conservation partnerships can
deliver a broad range of benefits from forest protection and harvest activities that shift the
landscape through cover types and age classes over time, ensuring a constant supply of
late and early successional forest.
As most of the knowledge supporting these guidelines is from studies conducted in the
US, these recommendations need to be validated in Canada through research
collaborations with forest managers. In the meantime, we advise land stewards to select
practices that are suited to the scale of their properties and to regularly consider new
information about science-based approaches to managing habitat for native wildlife.
When selecting sites, it will be useful to consult the accompanying report and maps,
“Spatial Management Planning for Canada Warbler in the Atlantic Northern Forest”
(available via Nature Canada and BAM). Ultimately, local knowledge of conservation
issues and forest dynamics is key to making sound decisions related to location, extent,
and intensity of management activity.
A female Canada Warbler carries caterpillars to her
nest. Photo by Len Reitsma.
1. DeGraaf, R. M., Hestbeck, J. B. & Yamasaki, M. Associations between breeding bird abundance
and stand structure in the White Mountains, New Hampshire and Maine, USA. For. Ecol.
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26. Roy, R. Effets à court terme des éclaircies précommerciales sur les oiseaux chanteurs dans le sud
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explaining bird occurrence in an industrial forest. For. Sci. 48, 231242 (2002).
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30. Yamasaki, M., Costello, C. A. & Leak, W. B. Effects of Clearcutting, Patch Cutting, and Low-
density Shelterwoods on Breeding Birds and Tree Regeneration in New Hampshire Northern
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31. Costello, C. A., Yamasaki, M., Pekins, P. J., Leak, W. B. & Neefus, C. D. Songbird response to
group selection harvests and clearcuts in a New Hampshire northern hardwood forest. For. Ecol.
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32. Maurer, B. A, Mcarthur, L. B. & Whitmore, C. Effects a forest of logging on guild structure of
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33. Schlossberg, S. & King, D. I. Postlogging succession and habitat usage of shrubland birds. J.
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34. Titterington, R., Crawford, H. S. & Burgason, B. N. Songbird responses to commercial clear-
cutting in Maine spruce-fir forests. J. Wildl. Manage. 43, 602609 (1979).
35. Chace, J. F., Faccio, S. D. & Chacko, A. Canada Warbler habitat use of northern hardwoods in
Vermont. Northeast. Nat. 146, 491500 (2009).
36. Webb, W. L., Behrend, D. F. & Saisorn, B. Effects of logging on songbird populations in a
northern hardwood forest. Wildl. Monogr. 55, 335 (1977).
37. Sabo, S. R. & Holmes, R. T. Foraging niches and the structure of forest bird communities in
contrasting montane habitats. Condor 85, 121128 (1983).
38. Norton, M. R. & Hannon, S. J. Songbird response to partial-cut logging in the boreal mixedwood
forest of Alberta. Can. J. For. Res. 27, 4453 (1997).
39. Hobson, K. A. & Schieck, J. Changes in bird communities in boreal mixedwood forest: harvest
and wildfire effects over 30 years. Ecol. Appl. 9, 849863 (1999).
40. Schieck, J., Stuart-Smith, K. & Norton, M. Bird communities are affected by amount and
dispersion of vegetation retained in mixedwood boreal forest harvest areas. For. Ecol. Manage.
126, 239254 (2000).
41. Kirk, D. A., Diamond, A. W., Hobson, K. A. & Smith, A. R. Breeding bird communities of
western and northern Canadian boreal forest: relationship to forest type. Can. J. Zool. 74, 1749
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42. Drapeau, P., Leduc, A., Giroux, J., Savard, J. L. & Vickery, W. L. Landscape-scale disturbances
and changes in bird communities of boreal mixed-wood forests. Ecol. Monogr. 70, 423444
43. Schieck, J. & Hobson, K. A. Bird communities associated with live residual tree patches within
cut blocks and burned habitat in mixedwood boreal forests. Can. J. For. Res. 30, 12811295
44. Labbe, M. A. & King, D. I. The effect of local and landscape-level characteristics on the
abundance of forest birds in early-successional habitats during the post-fledging season in Western
Massachusetts. PLoS One 9, (2014).
45. Vitz, A. C. & Rodewald, A. D. Can regenerating clearcuts benefit mature-forest songbirds? An
examination of post-breeding ecology. Biol. Conserv. 127, 477486 (2006).
46. Vitz, A. C. & Rodewald, A. D. Influence of condition and habitat use on survival of post-fledging
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47. Stoleson, S. H. Condition varies with habitat choice in postbreeding forest birds. Auk 130, 417
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48. Haché, S. et al. Analyses to support critical habitat identification for Canada Warbler, Olive-sided
Flycatcher, and Common Nighthawk, Final Report 2. Boreal Avian Modelling Project. 157 (2014).
49. Sauer, J. R. et al. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966 - 2013.
Version 02.19. (2015).
Field Guide to Managing Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) Habitat
Companion to Guidelines for Managing Canada Warbler Habitat in Atlantic Canada*
Status: Federally listed as Threatened in Canada, Likely to Be Designated As Threatened or Vulnerable in Québec,
Threatened in New Brunswick, and Endangered in Nova Scotia.
Habitats: Moist-to-wet deciduous, coniferous, and mixed forests with thick understory and open or broken canopy,
including swamps, treed bogs, shrub thickets, riparian forests, bushy ravines, young forests, and tree-fall gaps
Special requirements: Complex forest floor, leafy subcanopy with trees 1.5-5 m high, open and elevated perch sites for
Territory size: Typically 1-2 ha, ranging between 0.2 and 3 ha
Diet: Primarily mosquitoes, flies, moths, and caterpillars captured by flycatching, gleaning, and hover gleaning
Nest: On or near the ground, hidden in mossy hummocks, or beneath root masses, down wood, base of large wet forest
fern species, and clumps of grass
Associated species: Varies geographically, including: Black-and-White Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Northern
Waterthrush, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Rusty Blackbird, Veery, Canada Lynx, Wood Turtle, and others
Recommended Forest Management Practices: When conducted in the appropriate context, some methods of timber
harvesting can enhance habitat quality for Canada Warblers and associated species. However, conservation benefits
through timber harvesting may be low in areas where suitable habitat occurs naturally, especially in areas where the
potential to introduce invasive species through such activities presents a significant threat. For more discussion of where
to create and sustain habitat, consult the complete guidelines and accompanying maps. The following table summarizes
options for creating the desired, stand-level conditions.
Starting Condition
Management Options*
Desired Condition
High canopy cover
and low shrub/
sapling density
Open canopy and
increase light to
the understory
- Gap-group shelterwood
- Clearcut with reserves
- Seed-tree harvest
- Clearcut
- Patch cut
- Group selection
- Canopy height: <16 m
- Canopy cover: 5-85%
- Canopy tree basal area: <20 m2/ha
- Subcanopy height: 1.8-5 m
- Subcanopy cover: 40-70%
- Moderate to high density of woody
shrubs and saplings
- > 12 song perch trees per ha, emerging
> 3 m above the subcanopy, including
trees along edge of forest openings
- Uneven forest floor with down wood
covering >10% of the ground
- Moderate to high herbaceous plant,
fern and moss cover (not just ferns)
Open or even forest
Enhance forest
floor structure
Leave/recruit snags in
future stands
Top and delimb felled
trees near the stump
Leave slash and logs
* Guidelines may not apply equally across the region due to habitat differences, particularly in Québec
** For definition of terms, refer to the British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Range’s Glossary of Forestry Terms.
Protect saplings, shrubs, and forest floor by minimizing travel and maximizing trail spacing and machine reach.
To reduce risk to migratory birds and their nests, harvest on snowpack/frozen ground and avoid felling/skidding
during periods of nesting and fledgling activity. Consult Environment and Climate Change Canada for nesting periods
and general guidance on incidental take avoidance.
Retain song perch trees scattered such that individuals and clumps are surrounded by > 15.5 m openings. Choose
stems that reach at least 1 m above the regenerating layer. In larger cuts, consider creating blocks of 4 ha or more with
these conditions.
Field Guide to Managing Canada Warbler Habitat
Harvests that retain residual trees and woody material (left) provide two key habitat elements, prominent song perches and
complex ground structure. Clearcuts and first-cut gap-group shelterwoods (above right) may develop suitable subcanopy
structure within five years (below left). Regenerating patch and group cuts (below right) may also support breeding
Canada Warblers, especially if clustered or located near rivers or swamps (bottom right).
Dan Lambert
cc Eli Sagor
Bill Stack
Dan Lambert
Google Earth
Google Earth
Appendix I: Partial review of forestry and wildlife legislation and policy applying to
management of the Canada Warbler in the Atlantic Northern Forest of Canada
Prepared by Jamie Simpson and Alana Westwood (last update August 2016). Note: This list of major
legislation is not exhaustive. As of May 2017, critical habitat has not been defined for this species in Canada.
1. Acts, Regulations and Policy Documents
entation Year
Sustainable Forest Development Act, 2010, c A-18.1
Regulations Respecting Standards of Forest Management in the Domain
of the State, c A-18.1, r 7
Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species, c E-12.01
Crown Lands and Forests Act, RSNB 1973 c C-38.1
Forest Management Manual for New Brunswick Crown Land, June
2014 Interim Manual
Clean Water Act, SNB 1989, c C-6.1
Species At Risk Act, SNB 1996, c E-9.101
Watercourse and Wetland Alteration Regulation Clean Water Act,
2003-16, 90-80
Watercourse and Wetland Alteration Technical Guidelines, 2012
Crown Lands Act, RS 1989, c 114
Forests Act, RSNS 1989, c 179
Wildlife Habitat and Watercourses Protection Regulations, OIC 2001-
528, NS Reg 138/2001
Endangered Species Act, 1998, c11
Code of Forest Practice, 2012 FOR 2012-3
Scott Maritimes Pulp Limited Agreement (1965) Act, RS, c 415
Nova Scotia’s Old Forest Policy
Forest Management Act, RSPEI 1988, c F-14
Forest Renewal Program Regulations, pursuant to s25 of the Forest
Management Act RSPEI 1988, c F-14
Environmental Protection Act, RSPEI 1988, c E-9
Watercourse and Wetland Protection Regulations, pursuant to the
Environmental Protection Act RSPEI 1988, c E-9
Moving to Restore a Balance in Island Forests: Prince Edward Island
Forest Policy (2006)
Ecosystem-based Forest Management Standards Manual, 2014
Fisheries Act, RSC, 1985, c F-14
Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, SC 1994, c 22
Species at Risk Act, SC 2002, c 29
2. Cross comparison table of legal requirements (normal text) and guidelines (blue text) governing forestry as relating to Canada Warbler
(CAWA) habitat in provinces in BCR14*
Watercourse Buffers
Clearcut size restrictions
Provisions for habitat
retention relevant to CAWA
Species at risk
relevant to
No clearcutting within 20 m of peat bogs with
a pond, swamps, marshes, lakes or permanent
No machinery within 5 m of watercourse
Where buffer zones has a slope less than 40%,
tree cutting permitted providing that the
permit holder does not reduce the number of
live trees with a diameter of 10 cm or more of
all species
Strip cutting and clearcutting are prohibited in
the buffer zone
Opening sizes for hardwoods: 75% of cuts
25ha or less, 90% 50ha or less, no openings
>100 ha
Ranges from 100 to 150 ha
Cutting without assuring regeneration and
without protecting soil is prohibited
Opening sizes in fir and mixed forest: 70%
of cuts 50 ha, 90% 100 ha, no openings
>150 ha
Opening sizes in spruce forest: 20% of cuts
100 ha, 70% 100 ha, no openings >150ha
Must leave a buffer strip 100 m between
cuts where one or both are 100-150 ha, and
60 m where the cuts are <100 ha, until
regeneration in cuts is 3 m in height
Certain wildlife areas are
off-limits to forestry
Special management
requirements for certain
wildlife species and
exceptional forest
Holder of management
permit shall preserve a 60
m buffer strip around
ecological reserves
Not specified
Not specified
Chief forester responsible for determining
annual allowable cut (AAC)
At discretion of Chief
Not specified
Cutting within 30 m of watercourse or wetland
requires permit (does not apply on if under
approved management plan)
Major amendments require permission, minor
amendments do not
No grubbing within 30 m for watercourses
≥0.5 m, or within 10 m for those <0.5 m
No harvest of non-merchantable wood within
10 m of watercourse
Use of heavy machinery not permitted within
15 m of watercourse unless on approved road
Partial harvesting zones and recommendations
range from 3-90 m depending on
environmental and wildlife variables
Maximum size opening limited to 100 ha
unless otherwise authorized
On steep slopes, maximum openings are 20
ha (exceptions for blowdown)
No more than 40% old softwood forest
habitat can be cut in a single management
period (25 years)
Habitat protected through
recovery plan or protection
orders issued by the
Not specified
Cutting within 30 m of watercourse or wetland
requires a permit
Not specified
Habitat protected through
recovery plan or protection
orders issued by the
Not specified
For watercourses ≥0.5 m, buffer zone is 20 m,
with width increasing by 1 m for each 2% of
Forest management techniques must be
designed to facilitate suitable regeneration,
Recovery plan designates
core habitat
Cannot destroy
the nest of an
slope up to 60 m
No forestry vehicles within 7 m of
watercourse, no openings in tree canopy larger
than 15 m
Understory vegetation and non-commercial
trees within 20 m to be retained to the extent
mimic natural disturbance, sustain nature
ecosystem structure and function, and
involve selection cutting or individual tree
harvesting (see Code of Forest Practice,
August 2012)
At least 10 living or partially living trees
must be retained per ha of forest cut, and in
clumps ≥ 30 trees, at least one clump per 8
ha area, and situated no more than 200 m
apart or away from edge of stand
Operator ensures snags and CWD similar to
natural patterns
Under the Forests Act, the
Minister shall ensure that
wildlife and wildlife
habitats are managed
Forest management will be
planned to protect,
conserve, and enhance
habitat for species at risk
Partial harvesting (min of 20 m2/ha basal
area) only within 20 m of watercourse (>50cm
No forestry vehicles within 7 m; see notes for
more details (applies to Crown and private
Forest management techniques must be
designed to facilitate suitable regeneration,
mimic natural disturbance, sustain nature
ecosystem structure and function, and
involve selection cutting or individual tree
harvesting (see Code of Forest Practice,
August 2012)
At least 10 living or partially living trees
must be retained per ha of forest cut, and in
clumps ≥ 30 trees, at least one clump per 8
ha area, and situated no more than 200 m
apart or away from edge of stand
Operator ensures snags and CWD
similar to natural patterns
10 living trees left per
hectare of clearcutting;
snags and coarse woody
debris at natural levels (not
enforced to my
knowledge) (applies to
both Crown and private
Recovery plan designates
core habitat
Forest management will be
planned to protect,
conserve, and enhance
habitat for species at risk
Cannot destroy
the nest of an
No cutting within 20 m of watercourse
without licence or permit
Whole-tree harvesting not acceptable for
clearcuts, but for other types of harvest
Buffer strips between clearcuts must be at
least 15 m
Retention is at least 15 trees/a of at least 18
cm DB, with at least 5 legacy trees
Minister may prohibit
alteration of any
watercourse or wetland
Coarse woody debris
retained on all sites with a
minimum of 200 pieces/ha
Not specified
No cutting within 20 m of watercourse
without licence or permit
Silviculture funding on private land
Incentives for ecosystem-based forest
management standards exist
Not specified
Not specified
*No specifications for wood volume limits or rotation length for any provinces
3. Land Ownership
Forest Area
Crown Land
Crown (%)
Private Land
76.1 million
70.0 million
6.1 million
6.1 million
3.2 million
2.9 million
4.3 million
2.0 million
2.3 million
0.25 million
0.03 million
0.2 million
4. Annotated Summary of Acts, Regulations, Policies and Guidelines by Province
Sustainable Forest Development Act, c A-18.1
Applies to State lands, to privately owned forests, and to forests held under a title of ownership by a Native landholding
corporation … to the extent provide for in this Act
Land Divisions:
- Biological refuges: Minister may designate forest areas as biological refuges in order to protect certain mature or
overmature forests that are representative of Quebéc’s forest heritage and foster the maintenance of the biological
diversity of those forests … managed so as to ensure their continued protection 27 … Forest development activities
are prohibited in a biological refuge (unless authorized) 30
- Exceptional Forest Ecosystems: Forest ecosystems that are of special interest for the conservation of biological
diversity, because of their scarcity or age, for instance, may be classified as exceptional forest ecosystems. 31 All
forest development activities are prohibited in an exceptional forest ecosystem (unless authorized) 34
- Chief Forester responsible for preparing sustainable forest development manual to be used for determining allowable
cuts 46(3)
- Chief forester responsible for determining allowable cuts for forest development units, local forests, and certain
residual forests 46(5)
- Allowable cuts to be determined with objectives including sustainability of forests, impact of climate change on
forests, the natural dynamics of forests including composition, age structure and tree distribution pattern,
maintenance and improvement of the productive capacity of forests, and diversified use of forests 48
Regulations Respecting Standards of Forest Management in the Domain of the State, c A-18.1, r7
S2: Management permit holders shall maintain 20m buffer strips along the banks of peat bogs with a pond, swamps, marshes,
lakes, or permanent watercourses
S4: tree cutting permitted in buffer zones that have a slope of less than 40%, provided that the permit holder does not reduce
the number of live trees with a diameter of 10 cm or more of all species; strip cutting and clearcutting are prohibited in the
buffer zone
S7: no machinery activity within 5 m of a watercourse (except for roadbuilding activities)
S43: areas off-limits to forest management activities:
- Caribou calving area north of 52nd parallel; cliff inhabited by a colony of birds; muskrat habitat; an island or
peninsula inhabited by a colony of birds;
S46: holder of management permit shall preserve a 60 m buffer strip around ecological reserves (unless boundary of reserve
is delimited by a road)
S47: holder of management permit shall preserve a 30 m buffer strip on either side of highways until regeneration in cutting
area next to buffer strip is 3 m in height; 20 m buffer on either side of portage trails
S48: holder of management permit shall preserve a 60 m strip around a bear den during winter; this strip may be harvested
during summer
S62: in a heronry over 6 nests, no person may apply pesticides for the purpose of controlling an insect infestation or a
cryptogamic disease, or cultivate a sugar bush
S63: the site of a herony and the innermost 200 m of the 500 m strip of land surrounding it shall be left intact (and no
application of phytocides). Within the remaining 300 m, no cutting of trees, roadwork, sand pits, preparatory work for forest
production purposes, application of phytocides, pruning, or forest drainage between April 1 and July 31; outside of this
period, roads by be built but not exceeding 5.5 m in width.
S65: in a waterfowl gathering area, no person may carry out activities involving the application of pesticides for the purpose
of controlling an insect infestation or a cryptogamic disease, or the application of phytocides
S66: management permit holders may not cut trees, carry out preparatory work for forest production purposes, or pruning in
the floodplain of a waterfowl gathering area, except between June 16 and March 31 of each year; cutting must be limited to
no more than 30% of the trees over a 10-year period.
S69: in an area frequented by caribou south of the 52nd parallel, permit holders must leave the vegetation intact in areas used
by caribou for calving, breeding or winter feeding; no clearcutting over an area greater than 50 ha
S70: in white-tailed deer yard, permit holders may not carry out clear cutting in hardwood and hardwood-dominant mixed
stands over an area greater than 25 ha, or in softwood and softwood-dominant mixed stands over an area greater than 10 ha;
for strip cutting, total area of cut and residual strips may not exceed 25 ha in hardwood and hardwood-dominated stands, or
10 ha in softwood and softwood-dominant mixed stands; the vegetation used by white-tailed deer for shelter and food shall
be left intact
S71: in softwood and softwood-dominant mixed stands within a white-tailed deer yard, a permit holder must leave a buffer
strip at least 60 m wide between 2 areas of clear cutting until those areas reach a height of 7 m
S74: opening sizes (clearcutting or strip cutting): (cut blocks larger than 100 ha shall be shaped so that their length is at least
4 times its average width)
- hardwood zone: no more than 25 ha for at least 70% of the areas cut; no more than 50 ha for at least 90% of the
areas cut; and no more than 100 ha for all areas cut
- fir and mixed forest zone: no more than 50 ha for at least 70% of the areas cut; no more than 100 ha for at least 90%
of areas cut; no more than 150 ha for all areas
- spruce forest zone: no more than 50 ha for at least 20% of areas cut; no more than 100 ha for at least 70% of areas
cut; no more than 150 ha for all areas cut
s75: permit holders must leave a buffer strip of at least 100 m between cuts where one or both of the cuts are 100 to 150 ha,
and 60 m where the cuts are less than 100 ha, until regeneration in the cut areas is 3 m in height (note, for additional
regulations and exceptions to cut block sizes and buffer zones between cut blocks, see regulations 76 79)
s89: cutting without regeneration and soil protection is prohibited
Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species, c E-12.01
s17: no person may, in the habitat of a threatened or vulnerable plant species, carry on an activity that may alter the existing
ecosystem, the present biological diversity or the physical or chemical components peculiar to that habitat.
New Brunswick
Crown Lands and Forests Act, RS 1973 c C-38.1
No provisions of note
Forest Management Manual for New Brunswick Crown Land, June 20014 Interim Manual [not law guidelines only] maximum opening size is limited to 100 ha; DNR may authorize larger openings
Operations adjacent to a numbered provincial highway require a 30 m standing timber buffer along the right-of-way edge
Harvesting of steep slopes shall be conducted in accordance with the Steep Slope Harvesting Standards (s 10.5)
Harvesting of tolerant hardwood and tolerant hardwood/softwood stands shall be conducted in accordance with the Best
Management Practices for Crown Land Tolerant Hardwood/Softwood Stands (a 10.6) ‘major amendments’ (reducing watercourse buffer zones etc) are permitted if permission received from DNR; minor
amendments (not defined) are permitted without need for permission from DNR Watercourse crossings: for natural watercourses 0.5 m or wider, no grubbing within 30 m except for the area
immediately under the roadbed; for natural watercourses less than 0.5 m in width, no grubbing within 10 m except for the
area immediately under the roadbed; no harvest of non-merchantable wood within 10m of the watercourse except for the
roadbed area Heron and Raptor Nest Tree Retention:
- Trees supporting raptor or heron nest not harvested
- Treed buffer zones are maintained around heron and raptor nests (as defined in Table 2)
- Harvesting in buffer zone limited to no more than 30% of basal area
- No harvesting within the buffer zone around an active heron next during nesting season
- No new roads within specified distance of a raptor or heron nest
- Buffer zones range from 15 to 100 metres, depending on species; nesting season no-activity zone ranges from 100 to
200 metres; no new road zone ranges from 50 to 400 metres Watercourse buffers:
- No travel zones (that is, wheeled or tracked vehicles) range from 3 to 30 metres depending on channel width, bank
slope, wind-throw potential, fish habitat, waterfowl use, provincially significant wetlands, provincially designated
watersheds, wildlife travel corridors, aquatic recreation use and aesthetics; partial harvesting only zones range from
3 to 90 metres depending on the above mentioned variables; partial harvesting restrictions vary depending on the
variable at issue (ranging from a requirement to leave non-merchantable trees and shrubs, to maintaining 50%
canopy closure, no more than 30% removal of stems within a 10 year period, and basal area greater than 18 m2/ha;
cavity trees not to be cut; no more than 30% of dead and dying trees cut in any 10 year period Old Softwood Forest Habitat
- No more than 40% of area providing OSFH within an OSFH block can be cut in a single management period (25
years); no more than 30% of basal area cut at one time, and maintain basal area of 18 or more m2/ha and crown
closure of 50% or more; no more than 30% of dead trees to be cut; no cavity tree over 45 cm diameter to be cut
4.5.5 Deer Wintering Area Management (not addressed in this report)
10.5 Steep slope harvesting standards: maximum clearcut 20 ha; maximum width perpendicular to slope is 200 m; exceptions
allowed if more than 50% of stand has blown down
10.6 Best Management Practices for Crown Land Tolerant Hardwood and Tolerant Hardwood/Softwood Stands: no more
than 10% residual stems damaged; meet objectives set by DNR (not defined)
Watercourse and Wetland Alteration Regulations (under the Clean Water Act)
Cutting of trees within 30 metres of a watercourse or wetland requires a permit
Watercourse and Wetland Alteration Technical Guidelines [not law guidelines only]
Cutting trees within 30 metres of a watercourse or wetland requires an alteration permit; the permit allows the holder of the
permit to cut up to 30% of merchantable trees within the 30 metre zone every 10 years
Use of heavy machinery is not permitted within 15 metres of the shoulders of a watercourse unless on an approved access
Watercourses subject to the permitting requirements are those on private land that are depicted on 1:10,000 orthophoto maps,
and those on Crown land that are at least 0.5 metres in width
For watercourse not subject to the permitting requirements, clearcutting is permitted up to 3 metres from the shoulders of the
Unless deemed necessary by the Minister of Environment, alterations on Crown land to a watercourse that drains less than
600 ha or to a wetland do not require a Permit provided that an operating plan approved by a Regional Director of the NB
DNR is in place: 3(3) (e.1) and (f) of Watercourse and Wetland Alteration Regulation
Species at Risk Act, Bill 28 (apparently not yet proclaimed into force, this bill replaces the previous Endangered Species Act)
Habitat of species at risk not directly protected by the Act; rather, protection of habitat comes through recovery plan 29(1) or
protection orders issued by the Minister 31(1)
Nova Scotia
Endangered Species Act, 1998, c11
Species-at-risk working group created 9(1); provides list to Minister of species at risk in the Province 10(1)(a)
No person shall destroy, disturb or interfere with or attempt to destroy, disturb or interfere with the specific dwelling place or
area occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals or populations of an endangered or threatened species,
including the nest, nest shelter, hibernaculum or den of an endangered or threatened species 13(1)(c)
The Minister shall … appoint a recovery team and prepare a recovery plan for the species 15(1)
A recovery plan shall … identify habitat of the endangered or threatened species; and identify areas to be considered for
designation as core habitat 15(4)
Crown Lands Act RS 1989, c 114
Object and purpose: provide for the most effective utilization of Crown lands
No person shall cut or remove timber or other resources on or from Crown lands unless that person is expressly authorized to
do so pursuant to this Act or the regulations (29(1)
Forests Act, c 179 RSNS 1989
9 Forest management techniques to be used on Crown lands and recommended for use on privately owned lands shall (a) be
designed to facilitiate suitable natural regeneration wherever practical and involve selection cutting or the harvesting of
individual trees or groups of trees within a stand and the shelterwood harvest system involving one or more partial cuts …
10 The Minister shall ensure that wildlife, wildlife habitats and the long term diversity and stability of the forest ecosystems,
water supply watersheds and other significant resources are managed.
Wildlife Habitat and Watercourses Protection Regulations, OIC 2001-528, NS Reg 138/2001
Wildlife Clumps:
- 4(1) on any harvest site comprising an area greater than 3 ha of forest land, the forestry operator shall ensure that at
least 10 living, or partially living, trees are left standing for each hectare of forest land cut.
- 4(2) The trees required to be left standing pursuant to subsection (1) shall be … (c) clumped together in accordance
with the following: (i) each clump shall contain no fewer than 30 trees, (ii) there shall be at least one clump for each
8-hectare area, or part thereof, of forest land cut, (iii) where there is more than one clump, clumps shall be situated
no more than 200m apart and at least 20 m but no more than 200 m from the edge of the forest stand being cut, (iv)
where there is one clump, it shall be situated at least 20 m but no more than 200 m from the edge of the forest stand
being cut, and (v) there shall be no harvesting of trees within any clump.
- 4(3) clumps cannot be cut until the next harvest
- 4(4) A forestry operator shall ensure that levels of snags and coarse woody debris on all harvested sites are similar to
natural patters to the fullest extent possible
Watercourse buffer zones:
- 6(1) for watercourses at least 50 cm width, buffer zone is at least 20 m;
- 6(2) where the slope of the buffer is more than 20%, the width of the buffer zone increases by 1 m for each
additional 2% of slope to a maximum of 60 m in width;
- 6(3) within the buffer zone, no forestry vehicles within 7 m of the watercourse (unless at an approved crossing);
basal area at least 20 m2/ha; no opening in the tree canopy larger than 15 m at its greatest dimension
- 7 for watercourses less than 50 cm width, no forestry vehicles within 5 m of the watercourse, except at approved
watercourse crossings
- 8 for all watercourses, understory vegetation and non-commercial trees within 20 m of the watercourse are retained
to the extent possible
- 9 for all watercourses, no activities within 20 m of the watercourse that would result in sediment being deposited in
the watercourse
Nova Scotia’s Old Forest Policy, 2012, Report FOR 2012-4
Objective is to establish a network of old forests
Code of Forest Practice, August 2012 FOR 2012-3 (guidelines only although supposed to be mandatory on Crown lands
administered by DNR)
Landscape level planning: strive for stand conditions, spatial pattern, size, type, composition and age that is representative of
the range of local natural variability (1.1.1)
Four levels of forest management intensity: conservation reserves; extensively managed forests; intensively managed forests;
forest conversions (1.1.3)
Extensive forest lands: mimic natural disturbance and sustain natural ecosystem structure and function (based on Forest
Ecosystem Classification) (1.1.5)
Extensive forest: promote regeneration of native species typical of ecosystem (1.1.6)
Extensive forest: tree species diversity maintained or restored to natural range of variation by using FEC (1.1.7)
Extensive : no use of offsite and exotic tree species in planting (1.1.8)
Ecological Landscape Classification used to characterize landscape spatial structure, natural disturbance processes and forest
composition (1.2.1)
FEC is the stand level operational guide for applying ecosystem based management (1.2.2)
Forest management will be planned to conducted to protect habitat for species at risk (1.3)
Forest management will be designed and conducted to conserve and enhance habitat for Nova Scotia’s wildlife species (1.4)
Access to forest resources will be placed strategically in areas adjacent to provincial wilderness areas and parks to minimize
conservation impacts (1.5.1)
Designated watersheds will have no more than 25% of the area in a state of recent (5 years or less) forest harvest (1.6.2)
Timber harvest and biomass removal from a site will remain below rates that would impair long term site productivity (1.6.5)
Forest management will be designed and conducted with consideration of the potential effects of climate change, and
opportunities to maintain and enhance forest carbon sinks (1.7)
Harvested forests will be renewed in a timely fashion to produce high stocking of trees of commercial value (2.1.3)
Appropriate pest and fire protection measures, which may include biological or chemical means, will be undertaken to ensure
forest health and vigour (2.1.6)
Growth projections will be updated regularly to improve their accuracy (2.1.9)
Silviculture activities will be assessed regularly for growth results (2.1.10)
Accurate forest inventories will be maintained and the latest information used in forest management planning (2.1.11)
Timber harvests will be scheduled to optimize productivity (2.2.2)
Natural regeneration is encouraged (2.2.3)
Harvested areas to be planted or seeded if adequate natural stocking of preferred crop trees cannot be established (2.2.4)
Vegetation management (chemical, mechanical and manual methods) undertaken when survival or growth of crop trees is
hindered by competing vegetation (2.2.6)
High quality commercial crop trees will be selected during density management activities (2.2.8)
Commercial thinning will be timed and at intensities to ensure stand stability and long term value (2.2.11)
Silviculture activities will be designed to improve timber quality attributes (2.2.12)
Timber harvest and biomass removal from a site will remain below rates that would impair long term site productivity
Pesticides and herbicides will be used only when deemed necessary to prevent crop tree mortality or growth loss (2.3.13)
Forest managers will attempt to create and maintain large forest patches and connections among them, avoiding
fragmentation by roads and rights-of-way (3.1.1)
Timber harvest operations will provide for abundances and distributions of canopy openings, legacy trees, dead trees, and
cavity trees that are consistent with the landscape management objectives and assigned management intensity level (3.1.2)
Forest management will contribute to and be guided by IRM plans at the ecodistrict level (4.1.1)
Where scenic vistas are important, forests will be managed for diverse canopy structures without large visible clearcut harvest
areas (4.2.1)
Forest practices bordering protected areas will be designed and conducted in consultation with protected area managers
Forest management plans will identify places of aesthetic and spiritual importance and provide mechanisms to protect them
Scott Maritimes Pulp Limited Agreement (1965) Act RSNS, c 415
D. That all cutting of trees from the Licensed Land will be done in accordance with the Company’s Management Cutting Plan
as approved by the Province;
E (i) The company will cut approximately 50,000 cords of wood of all kinds each year from the Licensed Land (some
flexibility allowed); however, Company will be deemed to have complied with the terms of this clause if it complies with the
Forest Management Plan … during first 30 years; (ii) thereafter, Company will cut such quantity of forest products from the
Licenced Land as shall be mutually agreed upon and specified in the Management Cutting Plans; (iii) the Company, with
consent of the Province, may exchange stumpage on the Licenced Land for stumpage on other Crown lands in cases where it
is more economical and desirable for the Company to cut on such other Crown Lands pulpwood to be proceed at the Mill
K The company will artificially regenerate trees of commercially desirable species wherever practicable on any portion of the
Licenced Land cut over by the Company not found to be satisfactorily restocked ten years after the said cutting
- Except for burnt areas where fire not caused by the Company (but such land reverts to control of Province)
Forest Management Act, RSPEI 1988, c F-14
Minister shall prepare and cause to be publicly reviewed a Forest Policy … 4(1)
The Minister may place such restrictions on the harvesting or extraction of trees within twenty metres of a body of water or
within 40 metres on either side of the midline of a designated scenic heritage road, as may be prescribed by regulation (19)
Forest Renewal Program Regulations, pursuant to s25 of the Forest Management Act
To obtain assistance under the Forest Renewal program, landowners must (a) enter into a forest renewal agreement which
shall specify the terms and conditions of the Forest Renewal Program which are applicable to that property… 3(2)
Environmental Protection Act, RSPEI 1988, c E-9
The Minister may take such action as he considers necessary in order to manage, protect or enhance the environment or
manage, protect or enhance environmental health including … exercising exclusive control over the quality, use, protection
or alteration of all surface, ground and shore waters and all beaches, sand dunes, and wetlands within the jurisdiction of the
province … the preservation of the environment within the jurisdiction of the province 3(1)
The Minister may make regulations prohibiting the alteration of any watercourse, or wetland, or the water flow therein unless
the alteration is authorized by a licence or permit… 25(1)(m)
Watercourse and Wetland Protection Regulations, pursuant to the Environmental Protection Act
2(1) no person shall, without a licence or a Watercourse or Wetland Activity Permit, and other than in accordance with the
terms and conditions thereof, alter a watercourse or a wetland, or any part thereof, or water flow therein, in any manner, or
engage in any of the following activities in or on a watercourse or a wetland: … (g) disturb, remove, alter, disrupt or destr oy
vegetation in any manner, including but not limited to the cutting of live trees or live shrubs …
(3) the cutting of live trees and live shrubs in a wooded swamp is exempted from the prohibition in clause (1)(g)
3(3) no person shall, without a licence or a Buffer Zone Activity Permit, … alter or disturb the ground or soil within 15
meters of a watercourse boundary or a wetland boundary, or cause or permit the alteration or disturbance of the ground or
soil, therein in any manner
3(4) no person shall, without a licence or a Buffer Zone Activity Permit … engage in or cause or permit the engaging in any
of the following activities within 15 metres of a watercourse boundary or a wetland boundary: … (f) cut down live trees or
live shrubs; (h) spray or apply pesticides in any manner.
Moving to Restore a Balance in Island Forests: Prince Edward Island Forest Policy (2006)
Shift silviculture funding on private land from 90% renewal and 10% enhancement to 50% renewal and 50% enhancement
Require pre-harvest management plans on private lands that receive funding
Ecosystem-based Forest Management Standards Manual, 2014
Guidelines for professionals working on publicly-owned forest and those working on privately-owned forests intending to
pursue incentives under the forest enhancement program
All harvests to be prescribed in an approved forest management plan
Whole-tree harvesting acceptable for non-clearcut harvests; not acceptable for clearcut sites
Pioneer species sites are eligible for planting; sites dominated by mature forest species (rS, eH, BE, ewC, sM, rO, wP and
rM) generally eligible for enrichment planting only
No-cut buffer strips of at least 15 m must be left between clearcuts that exceed 2 ha
All harvest sites must retain at least 15 trees per ha (at least 18 cm DBH); at least 5 health trees per ha (at least 18cm DBH
and of good form) shall be left as legacy trees (ie, never cut)
Coarse woody debris must be retained on all harvest sites, with a minimum of 200 debris pieces (at least 7.5 cm diameter and
2 m length) per ha;
In plantations, 15% of stand must be non-planted species; where a stand contains a low density of rS, eH, wP, yB, sM, wA,
blA, or rO, these individual trees are to be left as seed trees
Clearcutting generally restricted to wS, bF, eL, bS, wB, tA, plantation rP, and rM in low lying areas that are mature or older;
other stands considered on a case-by-case basis; clearcuts limited to 2 ha with minimum 15 m corridor between cuts until
clearcut areas are 4 m in height (see manual for additional harvesting guidelines)
Biomass Guidelines: biomass projects receiving public investment (either direct capital or operating assistance, or
involvement of forest management programs):
All harvests require pre-harvest management plan
For clearcuts, no whole-tree removal
Biomass harvest sites must be mapped and files submitted to the Forests, Fish and Wildlife Division
If land being converted to non-forest use, then area is exempt from policy requirements; such sites will be monitored and if
the conversion does not occur within 10 years then penalties may be levied for non-compliance with the standards of the
Ecosystem-based Forest Management Manual
Fisheries Act, RSC, 1985, c F-14
35(1) no person shall carry on any work, undertaking or activity that results in serious harm to fish that are part of a
commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery, or to fish that support such a fishery… unless in accordance with the
prescribed conditions
36(3) … no person shall deposit or permit the deposit of a deleterious substance of any type in water frequented by fish or i n
any place under any conditions where the deleterious substance or any other deleterious substance that results from the
deposit of the deleterious substance may enter any such water … unless authorized by regulations
Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, SC 1994, c 22
5.1(1) no person or vessel shall deposit a substance that is harmful to migratory birds, or permit such a substance to be
deposited, in waters or an area frequented by migratory birds or in a place from which the substance may enter such waters or
such an area
6 (a) disturb, destroy or take a nest, egg, nest shelter, eider duck shelter or duck box of a migratory bird, or(b) have in his
possession a live migratory bird, or a carcass, skin, nest or egg of a migratory bird except under authority of a permit therefor
(Migratory Birds Regulations C.R.C., c. 1035).
Species at Risk Act, SC 2002, c 29
32(1) no person shall kill, harm, harass, capture or take an individual of a wildlife species that is listed as an extirpated
species, and endangered species, or a threatened species
33 no person shall damage or destroy the residence of one or more individuals of a wildlife species that is listed as an
endangered species or a threatened species, or that is listed as an extirpated species if a recovery strategy has recommended
the reintroduction of the species into the wild in Canada
34(1) SARA applies to aquatic species protected or defined by the Fisheries Act, migratory birds protected by the Migratory
Birds Convention Act, 1994, and species on federal lands, unless an order is made otherwise
Additional legislation and policy that may apply to Canada Warbler habitat (not an exhaustive list):
New Brunswick
Clean Environment Act, statute
New Brunswick Wetland Conservation Policy, policies
Watershed Protection Designation Order, regulations and guidelines
Wellfield Protected Area Designation Order, regulations
Nova Scotia
Environment Act Designation of a Protected Water Area, guidelines
Guidelines for Biodiversity-Rich Landscapes under the Western Crown Lands Conceptual Plan 2015, guidelines
Nova Scotia Wetland Conservation Policy 2011, policies
A Wetland Conservation Policy 2007, policies
Watercourse, Wetland, and Buffer Zone Activity Guidelines 2016, guidelines
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
To effectively conserve species at risk (SAR), it is important to understand their ecology at multiple scales, including stand-level habitat associations and landscape-level distribution. The Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus), Olive-Sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi), and Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) are listed landbird species at risk (SAR) that breed in wet forest habitat in Canada’s Maritimes. To characterize their habitat for stand-scale conservation, I surveyed vegetation cover and structure at 99 known locations in the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve. Habitat at sites occupied by each SAR was significantly different from habitat at unoccupied sites. However, occupied habitat near recent forest harvesting (within 1 km) did not differ from that in unharvested areas, suggesting features can be retained in managed forest landscapes. I further categorized habitat using Nova Scotia’s Forest Ecosystem Classification (FEC) and found these SAR predominantly occupied the same wet-poor ecosites, potentially allowing for management of all three species as a suite. I also used FEC information to verify spatial data layers commonly used in forest management planning and found their accuracy ranged from poor to fair, depending on layer and buffer size considered. To support regional-scale protected areas planning, I developed a species distribution model (SDM) for these species. I first evaluated 128 published SDM algorithms, finding that a majority did not accurately report model uncertainty, prediction metric, or both. To aid conservation practitioners in selecting and reporting on SDMs for conservation, I developed a guide based on data type, conservation objective, and experience. I then modeled the population density of the three SAR in four national parks in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, using Poisson log-linear regression models with a branching hierarchy. When comparing predicted population sizes to regional population estimates, national parks supported habitat for only 3-4% of Canada Warblers and 1-2% of Olive-sided Flycatchers. Thus it is highly unlikely that existing national parks alone are able to maintain viable regional populations. To help prevent extirpation of these species, forestry prescriptions need to be adjusted to conserve habitat, and key locations for management should be identified at a regional scale.
Full-text available
Many species of mature forest-nesting birds ("forest birds") undergo a pronounced shift in habitat use during the post-fledging period and move from their forest nesting sites into areas of early-successional vegetation. Mortality is high during this period, thus understanding the resource requirements of post-fledging birds has implications for conservation. Efforts to identify predictors of abundance of forest birds in patches of early-successional habitats have so far been equivocal, yet these previous studies have primarily focused on contiguously forested landscapes and the potential for landscape-scale influences in more fragmented and modified landscapes is largely unknown. Landscape composition can have a strong influence on the abundance and productivity of forest birds during the nesting period, and could therefore affect the number of forest birds in the landscape available to colonize early-successional habitats during the post-fledging period. Therefore, the inclusion of landscape characteristics should increase the explanatory power of models of forest bird abundance in early-successional habitat patches during the post-fledging period. We examined forest bird abundance and body condition in relation to landscape and habitat characteristics of 15 early-successional sites during the post-fledging season in Massachusetts. The abundance of forest birds was influenced by within-patch habitat characteristics, however the explanatory power of these models was significantly increased by the inclusion of landscape fragmentation and the abundance of forest birds in adjacent forest during the nesting period for some species and age groups. Our findings show that including factors beyond the patch scale can explain additional variation in the abundance of forest birds in early-successional habitats during the post-fledging period. We conclude that landscape composition should be considered when siting early-successional habitat to maximize its benefit to forest birds during the post-fledging period, and should also be included in future investigations of post-fledging habitat use by forest birds.
Full-text available
Habitat quality of a bird's breeding grounds has been typically evaluated by investigating patterns in nesting success, whereas events that follow fledging have been largely ignored. One especially overlooked aspect of breeding-habitat quality is how habitat affects the survival of young birds after they leave the nest, a period when mortality is notoriously high. We studied survival of fledglings of two mature-forest species, the Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) and Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum), to identify intrinsic (e.g., age, condition) and extrinsic (e.g., habitat structure) factors that influence survival. From 2004 to 2007, we radio-tagged 51 Ovenbird and 60 Worm-eating Warbler fledglings in southeast Ohio. We recorded the birds' locations daily and compared vegetation structure at the fledglings' and paired random locations. Using known-fate models in program MARK, we calculated post-fledging survival to be 65% for the Ovenbirds (51 days after fledging) and 67% for the Worm-eating Warblers (31 days after fledging). Fledglings' condition at the time of radio tagging was positively related to survival after fledging, implying carryover effects from the nestling period. Fledglings of both species used dense vegetation with 40–60% more woody stems in the understory than at random locations. Moreover, use of dense vegetation actually promoted survival. Although riparian thickets and tree-fall gaps within some forests may provide abundant habitat for fledglings, other forests may lack the structural attributes that promote fledglings' survival. Our findings highlight the importance of both breeding and post-fledging requirements being considered in avian conservation plans.
Full-text available
Many birds that are experiencing population declines require extensive tracts of mature forest habitat for breeding. Recent work suggests that at least some may shift their habitat use to early-successional areas after nesting but before migration. I used constant-effort mist netting in regenerating clearcuts (4–8 years postcut) and dense mature-forest understories to assess (1) whether most bird species of mature forests show habitat shifts after breeding; and (2), on the basis of several measures of condition, whether birds using early-successional habitats garnered any benefits or penalties, compared with those that remained in forests. I captured 3,845 individual birds of 46 species at four pairs of sites in mature Allegheny hardwood forests in northwestern Pennsylvania during the postbreeding periods of 2005–2008. Most, but not all, forest birds were captured at higher rates in cuts than in forests, and that pattern persisted through the postbreeding season. Using an information-theoretic approach, I found strong support for a species–habitat interactive effect on both molt progression and body condition as measured by residuals from species specific regression of mass on wing chord. Some, but not all, forest birds appeared to be in better condition when captured in cuts than when in forests. I found no support for a habitat effect on presence of fat or ectoparasites. My results reveal that habitat choice in the postbreeding season is correlated with physiological condition for a subset of forest birds, which suggests that the maintenance of such early-successional habitats in mature forest may benefit these species
Full-text available
We examined the distribution of 80 species of breeding birds across 67 census plots from a variety of sources in the boreal forest of western and northern Canada to obtain information on bird habitat associations for forest management. The sites ranged from upland black spruce (Picea mariana) to riverine deciduous forests and wet, marshy bogs. Axis 1 of an ordination (detrended correspondence analysis) demonstrated a gradient in bird communities from dry to wet sites; axis 2 may have been a black spruce (nutrient poor) to mixed deciduous forest gradient (nutrient rich). Hierarchical classification (twinspan) identified five groups of sites according to their bird communities. Despite geographical variation in bird communities and possible geographical variation in habitat associations, sites were classified according to their forest types rather than regional affinities. Yellow-rumped warblers (Dendroica coronata) and dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis) showed a pronounced gradient of increased abundance from deciduous to coniferous sites. White-throated sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) and alder flycatchers (Empidonax alnorum) showed a reverse gradient. In 22 sites of known-age aspen (Populus tremuloides) – mixedwood forests from central Saskatchewan, an ordination indicated a strong relationship between stand age (and thus the proportion of coniferous cover) and bird community structure. The highest combined densities of Neotropical migrants occurred in old forests, whereas short-distance migrants were most abundant in young forests. The highest abundance of upper-canopy gleaners was found in old forests, whereas ground foragers were most abundant in early successional forests. These findings have important implications for management of boreal forests.
Full-text available
Reproductive success in birds is largely influenced by nest-site selection. Nest predators are the greatest source of nest failure for most species of birds. Species that nest on the ground may be particularly adapted to maximally conceal nests to reduce the risk of loss to predators. Little is known about nest-site selection in the Canada Warbler (Wilsonia canadensis (L., 1766)), a small ground-nesting Neotropical migrant. We predicted higher amounts of vegetative cover at successful nests of Canada Warblers compared with unsuccessful nests because detection by predators would decrease with greater cover. We measured vegetative characteristics (concealment, stem densities, ground cover) around each nest and compared these variables between successful and unsuccessful nests and between actual nests and mock nest sites on and off territories. Greater concealment and higher stem densities were the main features surrounding a successful nest site. Nest sites had significantly greater concealment when compared with both random mock nest sites on and off territories. Thus, concealment is important for this ground nester and achieved primarily through thick cover and strategic nest placement in vertical substrate with an inconspicuous opening to the nest cup. Forests with complex ground structure and thickets of small-stemmed woody plants should be targets of conservation when considering how to manage this declining species.
The foraging niche patterns of woodpeckers and insectivorous passerines in two montane forests in New Hampshire were characterized and compared in separate and joint multivariate analyses. Comparisons of these two communities occurring in contrasting environments help to identify and assess the relative importance of the factors determining their species compositions and niche structures. The most important of these are shown to be the interrelated effects of climate, habitat physiognomy, competitive interactions, food resource base, wintering habits, and biogeographic origin of the avifaunas. Subalpine birds had lower and more variable population densities, plus lower niche diversity but greater niche overlap than birds of northern hardwoods. Niche ordinations showed that canopy height and foraging substrate were important gradients in the organization of both communities. We conclude that the patterns of bird community structure in these particular habitats are responses to diverse evolutionary and ecological events that determine individual species' patterns of habitat selection and resource exploitation.
The abundance and diversity of landbirds in all successional stages of habitat in an industrial forest landscape in northern Maine were studied. An attempt was also made to relate the presence or absence of each species at 364 point count stations to 20 vegetation structure variables and 7 landscape variables. Overall, species-habitat associations indicate that estimated population trends over the last decade within the industrial forest did not correlate well with Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) results for the state of Maine.
We evaluated Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) responses to changes in habitat characteristics (landscape metrics, landcover, and microhabitat features) at multiple spatial scales resulting from timber harvests (clear-cut, heavy partial, and light partial) between 1996 and 2009. Relative abundance of Canada Warblers decreased over time on our West Virginia study area (Wildlife and Ecosystem Research Forest) and within the Appalachian Bird Conservation Region. Initially, relative abundance was greater closer to roads, but as timber harvests became more common, relative abundance became positively associated with amount of light partial harvests at the local scale. Nest survival was 45.6 ± 18.3% during 1996–1998 and 24.9 ± 14.6% during 2007–2009, but did not differ (P = 0.38) between these periods. Areas around nests in 2007–2009 (n = 17) had less intermediate canopy cover and fewer residual trees but more green cover, woody debris, and pole trees than areas around nests in 1996–1998 (n = 10). Successful nests had more low cover, less vertical diversity, more woody debris, more saplings, and greater edge density than failed nests. We found a positive association between relative abundance and all three types of timber harvests and an improvement in habitat through understory development and retention of residual trees. Our research finds preliminary support for use of timber harvests, particularly light partial harvests, as a management tool for Canada Warblers in the southern portion of their range with the need for extended research using treatments and controls to confirm successful management.