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Community occupancy before-after-control-impact (CO-BACI) analysis of Hurricane Gudrun on Swedish forest birds

  • James C. Russell
  • Martin Stjernman
  • Åke Lindström
  • Henrik Smith
Publishing year: 2015
Language: English
Pages: 685-694
Publication/Series: Ecological Applications
Volume: 25
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Ecological Society of America

Abstract english

Resilience of ecological communities to perturbation is important in the face of increased global change from anthropogenic stressors. Monitoring is required to detect the impact of, and recovery from, perturbations, and before-after-control-impact (BACI) analysis provides a powerful framework in this regard. However, species in a community are not observed with perfect detection, and occupancy analysis is required to correct for imperfect detectability of species. We present a Bayesian community occupancy before-after-control-impact (CO-BACI) framework to monitor ecological community response to perturbation when constituent species are imperfectly detected. We test the power of the model to detect changes in community composition following an acute perturbation with simulation. We then apply the model to a study of the impact of a large hurricane on the forest bird community of Sweden, using data from the national bird survey scheme. Although simulation shows the model can detect changes in community occupancy following an acute perturbation, application to a Swedish forest bird community following a major hurricane detected no change in community occupancy despite widespread forest loss. Birds with landscape occupancy less than 50% required correcting for detectability. We conclude that CO-BACI analysis is a useful tool that can incorporate rare species in analyses and detect occupancy changes in ecological communities following perturbation, but, because it does not include abundance, some impacts may be overlooked.


  • Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
  • Ecology
  • Bayesian framework
  • before-after-control-impact study
  • community
  • stability
  • forest birds
  • Hurricane Erwin
  • Hurricane Gudrun
  • perturbation
  • resilience
  • Swedish bird survey


  • ISSN: 1051-0761