Bird and small mammal use of short-rotation hybrid poplar plantations

Donald P. Christian, Patrick T. Collins, Joann M. Hanowski, Gerald J Niemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


We studied abundance and species composition of birds and small mammals on hybrid poplar (Populus sp.) biomass plantations and other nearby land use types in the northcentral United States. There were few differences in mammal abundance or diversity between hybrid poplar plantations and rowcrop or small-grain fields. Avian abundance and species richness were consistently higher on plantations than in rowcrop or small-grain fields. Our findings suggest little negative site-level effect on songbirds or small mammals resulting from replacement of rowcrop or small-grain fields with hybrid poplar; our study did not address fragmentation or other landscape-level issues. Avian and mammalian abundance and diversity generally were considerably lower on plantations than in forests and non-wooded wildlands. Birds appeared to be more strongly attracted to plantations in agricultural regions than in forested landscapes. Limited use of plantations by area-sensitive and long-distance. Neotropical migrant bird species may reflect the relatively young age or small size of the plantations we studied. Mammal abundance and species richness were higher in patches where clones had failed or weed control was ineffective, suggesting that incorporating heterogeneity as a specific design feature may be one approach for managing plantations for biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • Minnesota
  • Neotropical migrants
  • Populus sp.
  • biomass energy plantations
  • birds
  • habitat
  • hybrid poplar
  • land use change
  • northcentral states
  • short rotation woody crops
  • small mammals


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