We compared diversity of birds in 35 study plots of equal size (58 ha) and productivity in western Norway, ranging from pure native pine Pinus sylvestris forests (n = 7), through different mosaics of native pine forests and spruce Picea spp. plantations (n = 21), to pure spruce plantations (n = 7). Diversity was evaluated by means of species richness, diversity indices, relative abundance curves and rarefaction. The diversity indices appeared to be less suitable for our purpose. Species richness was higher in pine forest than in spruce forest. However, a peak in species richness was found in mosaic forest. For pooled samples (408 ha), 11 bird species recorded in pine forest were not found in spruce forest, seven species were found in spruce forest but not in pine forest, and seven species were confined to the medium mosaics of pine and spruce forest (on average 56% pine and 44% spruce). We argue that, when mixing two habitat types A and B, the ratio of these habitats that maximize avian diversity depends on the ratio of species confined to habitat A and B, as well as the number of species favoured by the mixture of A and B. Existing spruce plantations (13% of the area) in native pine forests of western Norway have reduced the diversity of birds locally, but increased the diversity of birds on the landscape and regional scale.
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