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Cavity Trees, Snags, and Overstory Density in a Riparian Forest in Northeastern Missouri

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Snags and cavity trees are important for wildlife habitat, yet knowledge about their abundance and effects of forest management on these components is lacking for riparian forests. We evaluated the effects of clearcutting with reserves, basal area retention, and no harvest on snags and cavity trees in a riparian forest in northeastern Missouri. We also determined whether the established guidelines for snags and cavity trees in Missouri are being met. Preharvest results indicated that 11.3% of standing trees were snags, and 7% of live standing trees were cavity trees at this site. The proportion of snags was greater in small-diameter trees; however, the proportion of live trees with cavities increased as dbh increased. Preharvest snag density (20.6 trees/ac) and cavity trees (21.2 trees/ac) were well above the current minimum recommendations for wildlife tree retention on bottomland forests in Missouri. Following the harvest and girdling of residual trees >8 in. dbh, the abundance of snags increased, whereas cavity tree densities decreased. If the bottomland hardwood forest is going to contribute habitat of cavity tree-using wildlife, greater attention is needed to retaining cavity trees when harvesting.

Keywords: basal area retention; bottomland hardwood forest; cavity trees; clearcutting; snags

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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