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A Comparison of Wildlife Use in Broomed and Unbroomed Ponderosa Pine Trees in Northern Arizona

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Dwarf mistletoe infections often induce structures known as witches' brooms that may provide an important wildlife habitat element. We compared evidence of wildlife use in broomed and unbroomed ponderosa pine trees at 12 mistletoe-infested sites in northern Arizona. We systematically sampled 12 broomed and unbroomed trees on each site (n = 144 broomed and 144 unbroomed trees) by climbing and inspecting each tree to document evidence of wildlife use. Broomed trees were used more frequently than unbroomed trees for wildlife activities including foraging/caching, nesting, and roosting/resting sites. We observed evidence of use by Abert squirrel (Sciurus aberti), porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), and passerine birds in witches' brooms. Of the 226 brooms we examined, 23% (n = 52) contained evidence of wildlife use. Mammal use was found in 80% (n = 42) of the brooms and of these, 39 were used by Abert squirrel. We recommend that management agencies consider retaining some of these broomed trees to provide habitat for wildlife. West. J. Appl. For. 19(1):42–46.
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Keywords: Abert squirrel; Arceuthobium vaginatum; Pinus ponderosa; Sciurus aberti; dwarf mistletoe; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; mammals; natural resource management; natural resources; ponderosa pine; wildlife; witches' brooms

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: School of Forestry, Northern Arizona University, P.O. Box 15018 Flagstaff, AZ, 86011-5018,

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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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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