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Use of Artificially Created Douglas-Fir Snags by Cavity-Nesting Birds

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In western Oregon, we created snags by sawing tops off live Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) (n = 821) trees and monitored their condition and use by cavity-nesting birds. We created snags in three silvicultural treatments: modified clearcut stands, two-story stands, and small-patch group-selection stands. We used two snag patterns: clumped and scattered. Created snags averaged 3.8/ha in density, 17 m in height, and 75 cm in diameter. Chainsaw-topped snags were used by cavity nesters within 5 yr of creation. Abundance of excavated cavities increased in all silvicultural treatments (P = 0.0001) and was higher in two-story and clearcut stands than in small-patch stands (P ≤ 0.0004). We did not, however, find that snag pattern (clumped v. scattered) affected use by cavity-nesting birds based on abundance of excavated cavities (P > 0.6). We observed excavated cavities in five hardwood species indicating that hardwoods represented an important resource for cavity-nesting birds. Creating conifer snags by topping and retaining hardwoods may retain or increase populations of cavity nesters in areas with low natural snag density. West. J. Appl. For. 12(3):93-97.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, Holdsworth Natural Resources Center, Box 34210, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, 01003

Publication date: 1997-07-01

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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 Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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