Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 9, pp 2987–3016 | Cite as

The Influence of Habitat Variables on Bird Communities in Forest Remnants in Costa Rica

  • Robert B. MatlockJr.
  • Peter J. Edwards


This study examined the effects of forest structure (tree species richness, canopy height, percent canopy cover, understory density, tree density and DBH) and avian species traits (nest type and indicator list status) on the diversity, abundance and dissimilarity of bird communities in forest remnants and reforestation areas adjacent to Costa Rican banana plantations. Bird species richness and abundance were significantly related to tree species richness, canopy height and canopy cover in multiple linear regressions, the latter two forest structure variables being the best statistical predictors. Stratification of analyses by bird species indicator categories improved fits of regressions, because correlations with environmental variables differed in sign for different guilds of birds, a result likely to hold for other avifaunas. Analysis of avifauna dissimilarities among sites demonstrated that the species composition of bird communities was highly correlated with forest structure and tree species composition. Logistic regressions indicated that birds making protected (cavity, burrow, pendant, sphere and covered) nests were 2–6 times more likely to be present in the study avifauna than birds making open (cup, saucer, platform and scrape) nests and indicators of disturbed habitats were 11 times more likely to be present than indicators of primary forest. The forest structure data used were simple and inexpensive to collect, and data on avian traits were drawn from the literature. Thus, these methods could easily be replicated at other locations and would be valuable management aids and biodiversity assessment tools for conservation planning.


Banana Bird diversity Costa Rica Fragmentation Nest predation Rapid assessment Tropical Vegetation structure 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Escuela de Agricultura de la Región Tropical Húmeda (EARTH)San JoséCosta Rica
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA
  3. 3.SyngentaJeallott’s Hill Research StationBracknellUK

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