Habitat use by cavity-nesting birds in young thinned and unthinned Douglas-fir forests of western Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/ht24wp48q

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  • There is limited information on how to manage young forests of the Pacific Northwest to benefit wildlife populations. Commercial thinning is becoming more important in young forests both as a tool for timber management and to hasten the development of old-forest characteristics. There is some evidence that many species of birds in the Pacific Northwest, including many species of cavity-nesting birds, respond positively to thinning. It is not known why the abundance of many species of cavity-nesting birds respond positively to thinning I studied habitat use of cavity-nesting birds in young thinned and unthinned forests of the northern Coast Range of Oregon. I examined effects of two intensities of commercial thinning on the abundance of cavity-nesting birds using an experimental approach with one year of pre-treatment and two of post-treatment data for four species of cavity-nesting birds. No species examined was negatively affected by moderate intensity thinning, but one species had a severe negative response to heavy intensity thinning. The abundance of one species was positively influenced by thinning. I studied the foraging ecology of four species of cavity-nesting birds and characterized the types of structures used for foraging. Large-diameter hardwoods; large-diameter, well decayed snags and logs; and large-diameter conifers were all important foraging resources for the four species examined. Thinning for old-forest characteristics will likely have a positive impact on populations of cavity-nesting birds in the long term. There may be little negative short-term effects of thinning on cavity-nesting birds. I suggest a patchy approach to thinning with patches of unthinned and heavily thinned areas intermixed in a landscape dominated by moderately thinned areas. This mix should help to balance the short-term and long-term effects of thinning on all species of cavity-nesting birds. Patches of hardwoods, large-diameter snags, and large-diameter logs should be retained when thinning to provide suitable foraging resources for cavity-nesting birds.
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