Energy Report

Mountaintop Removal Reduces Nearby Songbird Populations

Date: June 15, 2015

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Forest-dependent songbird species appear in significantly smaller numbers in areas adjacent to reclaimed mountaintop removal mines, according to a study published this year in the journal Landscape Ecology. Evaluating bird populations in forested land next to reclaimed mine sites in Kentucky and West Virginia, researchers found declines in nearly two dozen types of songbirds, including species of conservation concern such as the cerulean warbler. A smaller amount of species, mostly shrubland birds, responded positively to increases in grassland. “If [forest] managers want to take actions that may benefit sensitive, forest-dependent species, they need to minimize the amount of forest lost in a landscape,” commented Doug Becker, the study’s senior author.

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