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Habitat Characteristics of Active and Abandoned Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Colonies

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Active red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) colonies in the Piedmont of Georgia are mature pine stands (mean age = 87 ± 1 yr old) with relatively sparse midstories (mean basal area = 31 ± 3 ft²/ac). Active and abandoned colony sites have similar overstory characteristics, but midstories are significantly denser in abandoned colony sites (mean basal area = 56 ± 3 ft²/ac). Previous studies have focused on the effect of hardwoods in the midstory, but we found that increases in both pine and hardwood midstory density are associated with colony abandonment. A logistic regression model based on field data suggests that the probability of a colony becoming abandoned increases considerably when midstory basal area is >30 ft²/ac. To maintain redcockaded woodpecker populations, managers should keep midstory basal area in colonies below 25 ft²/ac. Treatments should be applied to entire stands and not just around individual cavity trees. South. J. Appl. For. 16(3):120-125.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, P.O. Box 7669, Missoula, MT 59807

Publication date: August 1, 1992

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  • 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 Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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