Avian community metrics often differ between areas with no human disturbance and areas with high levels of human disturbance. However, the relationships between avian community metrics and smaller-scale disturbances are not as clear. Our goal was to investigate if avian abundance, richness, evenness, and diversity differed in areas with and without small-scale human developments. We used fixed-radius 50-m avian point counts to compare points which contained a man-made structure (n = 47), such as a picnic area, road, or campsite to those that did not contain a man-made structure (n = 181) at 4 state parks in Arkansas during 18 May – 7 August 2015. We used paired t-tests to compare points at the park scale and one-way ANOVAs or Kruskal-Wallis tests to investigate differences among the hiking and biking trails within parks. At the park scale, avian abundance (t₃ = -1.44, P = 0.246), richness (t₃ = ˗0.86, P = 0.453), diversity (t₃= 2.02, P = 0.137), and evenness (t₃ =˗0.37, P = 0.733) did not differ between points containing man-made structures and points without man-made structures. Species richness (F1,11 = 5.03, P= 0.047) and diversity (X^2₁ = 4.20, P = 0.040) were higher at points with man-made structures (Simpson’s D mean = 0.13 ± 0.01SE; S mean = 8.99 ± 0.70SE) at Pinnacle Mountain than points without man-made structures (Simpson’s D mean = 0.18 ± 0.03SE; S mean = 7.17 ± 0.47SE); abundance (F₁, ₁₁ = 1.43, P =0.257) and evenness (F₁, ₁₁ = 0.16, P = 0.695) did not differ among points. Within the 3 remaining parks, abundance (F₁,7-9 = 0.11 – 2.59, P = 0.152 – 0.748), richness (χ^2 ₁ = 0.300 – 1.68, P = 0.195 – 0.584), diversity (χ2 = 0.300 – 1.05, P = 0.305 – 0.584; F₁,7 =1.82, P = 0.219) and evenness (F₁,7-9 = 0.35 – 4.28, P =0.077 – 0.570) did not differ between points with and without man-made structures. Given the results of our analyses both at the park scale and within parks, it appears that small-scale man-made disturbances may have limited or no impact on avian community metrics.
Keith, R. D.; Grooms, B.; and Urbanek, R. E.
"Impacts of Man-Made Structures on Avian Community Metrics in 4 State Parks in Northwestern Arkansas,"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 70
, Article 20.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol70/iss1/20