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Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management

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Pine plantations, a common early successional habitat in the southeastern United States, have been subject in recent years to increased use of herbicides to control herbaceous vegetation immediately postestablishment. Such treatments may affect songbird use during the breeding season, but studies documenting bird response are limited. Furthermore, songbirds that breed in early successional habitats have experienced sustained population declines in recent decades. Therefore, we examined the influence of herbaceous vegetation control on songbird use during the breeding season within pine plantations on the Piedmont Plateau in Virginia. We evaluated 35 plantations characterized by one of five treatments: herbaceous vegetation control applied during the establishment year and that were 1, 2, or 3 y old when sampled, and those that had not received herbaceous vegetation control at establishment and that were 1 or 2 y old when sampled. There was no difference (P . 0.05) in detections of birds between plantations with and without herbicide treatment. However, 1-y-old plantations (both treated and untreated) had fewer detections (P , 0.05) than 2-y-old plantations for 3 individual species and for all 16 species combined.


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