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Dataset supporting Do fragmented forests host sufficient birds for forest restoration on Banks Peninsula, New Zealand?

dataset
posted on 2024-07-01, 00:17 authored by Maia GerardMaia Gerard

The following datasets include the five-minute bird count results taken in the Spring of 2023 and the locations of the bird count stations.

Abstract: Native forest restoration requires functioning bird-plant mutualisms for the pollination of flowers and dispersal of seeds. Agricultural areas set aside for native forest regeneration often have highly fragmented forest patches, which can reduce local densities of native avifauna that carry out these bird-plant mutualisms. Te Whenua Ora/High Bare Peak (HBP) is a fragmented forest landscape on Banks Peninsula transitioning back into forest. Five-minute bird counts (5MBCs) in forest were used to compare the diversity and abundances of bird species at HBP with that of Hinewai Reserve, a nearby ecological restoration project that has transitioned back into forest over more than 30 years. HBP had more introduced bird species than Hinewai, likely due to the forest patches being smaller and in close proximity to pasture, but the two sites had similar counts of pollinating and seed-dispersing native bird species. The mean number of bellbirds (Anthornis melanura) was the same at HBP and Hinewai (0.8 per 5MBC), and there were more silvereyes (Zosterops lateralis) at HBP than at Hinewai (0.99 vs 0.56, respectively). Kererū (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) were rare at both Hinewai and HPB (0.2 and 0.06, respectively), but kererū are often under-represented in 5MBCs. These results indicate that bird diversity and abundance should be sufficient for bird-plant mutualisms to develop in forest fragments at HBP at least to a level similar to that in Hinewai. This study suggests that small forest patches can play an important role for the restoration of native forests through maintaining populations of key pollinating and seed-dispersing bird species.

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Department

  • Biological Sciences

College

  • Te Kaupeka Pūtaiao | Faculty of Science

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