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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 539417, 10 pages
Research Article

The Effects of Exurbanization on Bird and Macroinvertebrate Communities in Deciduous Forests on the Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee

1Department of Biology, University of the South, 735 University Avenue, Sewanee, TN 37383-1000, USA
2Landscape Analysis Lab, University of the South, 735 University Avenue, Sewanee, TN 37383-1000, USA

Received 18 August 2009; Accepted 2 December 2009

Academic Editor: Bradford Hawkins

Copyright © 2009 Jordan M. Casey et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


To investigate the potential causes of changes to bird communities in exurban areas, we examined the relationship between bird and macroinvertebrate communities in exurbanized forest. We randomly located sampling points across a gradient of exurbanization. We used point counts to quantify bird communities and sweep netting, soil cores, pitfalls, and frass collectors to quantify macroinvertebrates. Bird communities had higher richness and abundance in exurban areas compared to undeveloped forests, and lost some species of conservation concern but gained others. The macroinvertebrate community was slightly more abundant in exurban areas, with a slight shift in taxonomic composition. The abundance of macroinvertebrates in soil cores (but not pitfalls) predicted the abundance of ground-foraging birds. The abundance of macroinvertebrates in sweep nets was not associated with the abundance of aerial insectivore birds. Exurbanization therefore appears to change bird and macroinvertebrate communities, but to a lesser extent than agricultural forest fragmentation or intensive urbanization.