Avian community structure among restored riparian habitats in northwestern Mississippi
Smiley, P.C. Jr. | Maul, J.D. | Cooper, C.M.
Riparian zones and agricultural fields adjacent to incised streams in northwestern Mississippi are impacted by gully erosion initiated by runoff flowing over unstable streambanks. Currently, installation of erosion control structures (drop pipes) at the riparian zone--agricultural field interface halts gully erosion and simultaneously establishes one of four riparian habitat types. Avian communities were compared among four types of restored habitats and among four seasonal periods in northwestern Mississippi from June 1994 to May 1996. Fifty-seven species were observed among riparian habitats, of which 49% were neotropical migrants. Habitat type and season significantly affected species richness, abundance, and diversity. Species richness, abundance, and diversity increased as habitat area, pool volume, and vertical structure of woody vegetation increased among riparian habitat types. Additionally, species richness, abundance, and diversity increased during spring and fall. The influence of habitat type on avian species richness, abundance, and diversity did not differ among seasons. Present drop pipe installation practices focus on erosion control without consideration of habitat creation. Installation practices can be altered to more effectively incorporate habitat creation to provide the greatest ecological benefits for avian communities within impacted riparian zones.Show more [+] Less [-]