Contribution to Book
Workshop Proceedings: Management of Western Forests and Grasslands for Nongame Birds
Spruce-fir forests in the Rocky Mountains consist mainly of Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir. The breeding avifaunas in these forests show remarkable consistency in composition along a latitudinal gradient from Montana to Arizona and New Mexico, and with avian communities in the Hudsonian life zone in Washington, Oregon, and California. Woodpeckers, corvids, and seed-eating finches are the most common components. Only the Golden Eagle and a few other raptors are threatened or endangered. Few species winter in these high mountain forests. The distribution of many species is controlled primarily by the vegetation physiognomy, a variable under the control of the forest manager. Fire control and snag management will generally benefit the avifauna, whereas most forest harvesting practices adversely affect, to differing degrees~ the bird communities. It is suggested that the "life-form" approach to avian communities may be easily implemented in these forests. It is recommended that high elevation spruce-fir forests be minimally harvested and used as reservoirs for spruce-fir birds. Lower elevational stands should be managed for harvesting and bird diversity, with special attention given to relic stands.
Smith, K. G. (1980). Nongame birds of the Rocky Mountain spruce- fir forests and their management, pp. 258-279. In: R. DeGraaf (Tech. Coord.) Management of western forest and grassland for nongame birds. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report INT-89.