Effects of commercial forest harvesting on the distribution of the American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) during the breeding period in New Brunswick, Canada

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University of New Brunswick


American black duck populations (Anas rubripes) have declined range-wide since the 1990s; however, what may be driving this decline is unknown. Commercial forest harvesting may reduce the amount of breeding habitat available for black ducks. To determine if breeding black ducks are affected by commercial forestry, I analyzed how distribution and productivity differed in areas with varying amounts of commercial forestry. I found that distribution of breeding adult black ducks was influenced by wetland area, the presence of mallards (A. platyrhynchos), the proportion of intact forest within 1000m radius of the wetland edge, and the distance to the closest harvest. I did not find an effect of commercial forestry on predation of artificial nests, nor on the distribution of real broods. My results indicate that the commercial forestry practices I assessed may alter adult black duck distribution, but do not seem to impact nest predation or brood distribution.