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Habitat associations of black-backed and three-toed woodpeckers in the boreal forest of Alberta

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Abstract:

Recent studies suggest that black-backed (Picoides arcticus) and three-toed woodpeckers (Picoides tridactylus) might decrease in abundance because of habitat loss from fire suppression and short-rotation logging in landscapes managed for forestry. We examined black-backed and three-toed woodpecker occupancy of stands in a 2-year post-fire forest, mature and old-growth spruce and pine forests, and six post-fire coniferous forests of different ages. Three-toeds were detected in old stands and in the 2-year-old burn, and their probability of occupancy of burned forests decreased between 3 and 8 years post-fire. Within 50 km of the 2-year-old burn, black-backs were only detected in the burn and not in old-growth or mature conifer stands. However, they did occupy old coniferous stands located 75 and 150 km from the recent burn. They had a similar probability of occupying stands in the 3-, 4-, and 8-year-old burns but were not detected in the 16-year-old burn. The persistence of three-toed woodpeckers in boreal Alberta will likely depend on the presence of both old-growth and recently burned coniferous forests or forests with old-growth structural characteristics. Black-backed woodpeckers appear to be more burn dependent than three-toeds, and their long-term persistence may depend on the frequency of recently burned forests within their dispersal range.

Des études récentes suggèrent que, dans les paysages sous aménagement forestier, l'abondance du pic à dos noir (Picoides arcticus) et du pic tridactyle (Picoides tridactylus) peut diminuer à cause de la perte d'habitat liée à la suppression des feux et aux courtes rotations de récolte ligneuse. Nous avons examiné l'occupation par le pic à dos noir et le pic à dos rayé de peuplements dans un brûlis forestier de 2 ans, dans des forêts mûres et anciennes d'épinette et de pin et dans six brûlis de conifères de différents âges. Des pics tridactyles furent détectés dans les vieux peuplements et dans le brûlis de 2 ans et leur probabilité d'occupation des brûlis diminuait entre 3 et 8 ans après feu. Dans un rayon de 50 km du brûlis de 2 ans, le pic à dos noir ne fut détecté que dans le brûlis lui-même et pas dans les peuplements de conifères anciens ou mûrs. Toutefois, il occupait de vieux peuplements de conifères situés de 75 à 150 km du brûlis récent. Il avait des probabilités d'occupation semblables dans les brûlis de 3, 4 et 8 ans, mais il ne fut pas détecté dans le brûlis de 16 ans. La persistance du pic tridactyle en Alberta boréale dépendra vraisemblablement de la présence à la fois de forêts anciennes et de jeunes brûlis, ou de forêts ayant des caractéristiques structurales de forêts anciennes. Le pic à dos noir semble plus dépendant du feu que le pic tridactyle et sa persistance à long terme peut dépendre de la fréquence de brûlis récents à l'intérieur de leur aire de dispersion.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-10-01

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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