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Silvicultural Approaches to Develop Northern Spotted Owl Nesting Sites, Central Coast Ranges, Oregon

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The life-history requirements of northern spotted owls (Strix occidentalis caurina), a federally listed “threatened” species, are associated with late-successional habitats. Nesting sites are an important habitat requirement for spotted owls. We used an individual-tree, distance-independent growth model to explore a range of management scenarios for young Douglas-fir stands (age class 50 years) and estimated which scenarios promoted the development of forest patches that emulate the species mix and diameter distributions at known spotted owl nest sites in the central Coast Ranges of Oregon. Our modeling indicates that without silvicultural intervention or natural disturbances, the young stands (170–247 trees/ac) investigated did not develop features associated with spotted owl nest sites within 160-year total stand age. Silvicultural simulations that modeled heavy thinnings at ages 50 and 80 years, followed by tree-planting and additional thinnings developed forest patches structurally similar to our sample of spotted owl nest sites. We infer that silvicultural activities in federally managed, late-successional reserves may need to include alternatives beyond the scope of those permitted under current land use guidelines to accelerate the development of stand structures that better meet the nesting site requirements of spotted owls. West. J. Appl. For. 20(1):13–27.
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Keywords: Forest thinning; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; old-growth; stand structure; wildlife habitat; young stands

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Oregon State University Corvallis OR 97331 Phone: (541) 776-6794;, Fax: (541) 776-7373, Email: 2: Kingfisher Ecological, Inc. Corvallis OR 97330 3: McKenzie Ecological Vida OR 97488 Current Address: US Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service Oregon State Office Portland OR 97266 4: PNW Research Station USDA Forest Service Portland OR 97205 5: Department of Forest Resources Oregon State University Corvallis OR 97331

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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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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