Avian responses to selective logging shaped by species traits and logging practices

Zuzana Burivalova, Tien Ming Lee, Xingli Giam, Çagan Hakki Sekercioglu, David S. Wilcove, Lian Pin Koh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Selective logging is one of the most common forms of forest use in the tropics.Although the effects of selective logging on biodiversity have been widely studied, there is little agreement on the relationship between life-history traits and tolerance to logging. In this study, we assessed how species traits and logging practices combine to determine species responses to selective logging, based on over 4000 observations of the responses of nearly 1000 bird species to selective logging across the tropics. Our analysis shows that species traits, such as feeding group and body mass, and logging practices, such as time since logging and logging intensity, interact to influence a species’ response to logging. Frugivores and insectivores were most adversely affected by logging and declined further with increasing logging intensity. Nectarivores and granivores responded positively to selective logging for the first two decades, after which their abundances decrease below pre-logging levels. Larger species of omnivores and granivores responded more positively to selective logging than smaller species from either feeding group, whereas this effect of body size was reversed for carnivores, herbivores, frugivores and insectivores. Most importantly, species most negatively impacted by selective logging had not recovered approximately 40 years after logging cessation. We conclude that selective timber harvest has the potential to cause large and long-lasting changes in avian biodiversity.However, our results suggest that the impacts can bemitigated to a certain extent through specific forest management strategies such as lengthening the rotation cycle and implementing reduced impact logging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20150164
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1808
StatePublished - May 20 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


  • Bird conservation
  • Forest degradation
  • Forest management
  • Phylogeny
  • Reduced impact logging
  • Tropical timber harvest


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