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Creating Snags and Wildlife Trees in Commercial Forest Landscapes

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Conversion of original older forests to second-growth stands has resulted in the loss of snag and wildlife tree habitat in the Pacific Northwest. Because many species require these habitat features, habitat managers have attempted to create snags and wildlife trees. From written contracts and contractor interviews, I summarized information about currently used snag and wildlife tree creation techniques including operation specifications, cost-effectiveness, safety considerations, and numbers of trees created. Removing the top of a tree with a chainsaw (~$35 per tree) or explosives (~$45 per tree) was commonly used to create snags and wildlife trees. Girdling in or near the base of the crown ($20-30 per tree) has also been used extensively. Cavity creation ($34-50 per tree), fungal inoculation ($23-33 per tree), and limbing (~$32 per tree) have been used to create or enhance snags and wildlife trees and cost less when used in conjunction with topping or girdling. These techniques have shown some success at providing suitable habitat for cavity- and snag-using wildlife; however, they have been used with the assumption that they will be successful. More in-depth research and monitoring are required to assess their effectiveness at meeting wildlife-habitat and forestry objectives. West. J. Appl. For. 13(3):97-101.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 2108 Grand Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98661, (360) 906-6755, Fax: (360) 906-6777

Publication date: July 1, 1998

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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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