Occupancy rates and habitat relationships of northern goshawks in historic nesting areas in Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/n583xz92d

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  • The ability of northern goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) to persist in intensively managed and selectively harvested forest habitats is largely unknown. To address the concern that populations of northern goshawks in eastern Oregon may be declining in response to habitat alteration, I studied occupancy rates and habitat relationships of nesting goshawks on the Fremont National Forest and adjacent private lands during 1992-1994. My objectives were to determine if historic territories (i.e., those occupied ≥ 1 season during 1973-1991) were still occupied, document current site conditions and quantify changes in forest cover on those territories between 1973-1994, and compare present conditions of forest vegetation between nest sites that were currently occupied and those where I did not detect the presence of territorial goshawks (no-response sites). In 1994, I surveyed a forest-wide random sample of 51 historic nest sites, stratified by forest cover type. Occupancy of historic sites by goshawks was 29% (15 of 51), compared to 79% (30 of 38) mean annual occupancy rate of current territories (found initially during 1992-1994). Across all strata, 86% of current nest sites (n=38) were in Mid-aged or Late structural stage forest (trees >23 cm DBH) with >50% canopy closure. Among the historic territories used for analysis (n=46), those found occupied (n=15) in 1994 had significantly more Mid-aged Closed forest (average stand DBH 23-53 cm, <15 trees per ha >53 cm DBH; >50% canopy closure) and Late Closed forest (15 trees per ha >53 cm DBH; >50% canopy closure) than no-response sites (n=31). This relationship was significant (P<0.05) for circular scales of 12, 24, 52, 120, and 170 ha surrounding goshawk territory centers. Within the 52 ha scale around historic nest sites surveyed in 1994, occupied sites had 49% (SE=6.6) total Late Closed and Mid-aged Closed forest, while sites with no response had 19% (SE=3.0) total Late and Mid-aged Closed forest. Historic sites had 51% (SE=3.8) total Late and Mid-aged Closed forest when last known occupied before 1992. Among historic territories, mean percent area of habitat in Late Closed forest at the 12 ha nest stand scale was 4 times greater in occupied (27%) than in no-response sites (6%) (P<0.05). A logistic regression model for occupied sites confirmed the importance of Late Closed and Mid-aged Closed forests as indicators of quality habitat within the 52 ha scale on historic sites where goshawks were still present in 1994. Goshawk pairs were more likely to persist in historic territories having a high percentage of mature and older forest (about 50%) in closed-canopied conditions within the 52 ha scale, suggesting that little or no habitat alteration within aggregate nest stands is important to ensure the persistence of nesting pairs. I recommend preserving multiple nest stands within the 52 ha scale and discourage further cutting of large, late and old structure trees (>53 cm DBH) within the PFA to preserve stand integrity, maintain closed canopies, maintain connectivity to alternate nest stands, and optimize conditions for breeding goshawk pairs to persist.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-09-20T17:06:25Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 DesimoneStevenM1998.pdf: 4236370 bytes, checksum: e4877b7fb7eda14756ffe0d272de18a0 (MD5)
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-09-20T17:14:36Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 DesimoneStevenM1998.pdf: 4236370 bytes, checksum: e4877b7fb7eda14756ffe0d272de18a0 (MD5)
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