Disturbance-dependent species are assumed to benefit from forestry practices that mimic the appearance of postdisturbance landscapes. However, human activities that closely mimic the appearance but not the fundamental quality of natural habitats could attract animals to settle whether or not these habitats are suitable for their survival or reproduction. We examined habitat selection behavior and nest success of Olive-sided Flycatchers (Contopus cooperi) in a naturally occurring burned forest and an anthropogenically created habitat type-selectively harvested forest. Olive-sided Flycatcher density and nestling provisioning rates were greater in the selectively harvested landscape, whereas estimated nest success in selectively harvested forest was roughly half that found in naturally burned forest. Reduced nest success was probably a result of the relatively high abundance of nest predators found in the artificially disturbed forest. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that selectively harvested forest can act as an "ecological trap" by attracting Olive-sided Flycatchers to a relatively poor-quality habitat type. This highlights the importance of considering animal behavior in biodiversity conservation.
© 2007, University Of California Press. View original published article in JSTOR.