David Rankin

David began his MS studies at UNE in the summer of 2012 and defended his thesis in June 2014.  He studyied the effects of Timber Stand Improvements (TSI) on forest breeding songbirds on private forests in Vermont. He has always been fascinated by birds and their environment and been drawn towards research that investigates how we can best manage for their continued survival while still sustainably using our natural resources. TSI harvests are currently being promoted by the Vermont Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA) and Audubon Vermont as a means of creating habitat for some early successional species without negatively impacting most mature forest species. This NRCS funded study hopes to determine what effect if any the program of encouraging landowners to conduct light, non-commercial harvest on small tracts of private land with the intent of improving the forest condition for both forestry and birds. David examined whether or not diversity and abundance of any species changed as a result of the harvests and identify which vegetative characteristics of the harvest have the most effect on forest breeding birds. He also investigated the effect the TSI on arthropod biomass in the understory in order to determine the effect TSI had on avian food supplies during the breeding season.

David’s thesis was published here:

Rankin, D.R., and N.G. Perlut. 2015. The effects of forest stand improvement practices on occupancy and abundance of breeding songbirds. Forest Ecology and Management. 335:99-107.

He is currently working as a Jr. Specialist for Dr. Chris Clark at UC Riverside, studying hummingbirds.

David earned his BS from Suny ESF.  He was co-advised by Steve Travis, Biology Department, UNE.