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Harvest Treatments Affect Properties of Snags Created for Wildlife Habitat

Snags provide habitat for a wide range of organisms from cavity-nesting birds to insects, and are critical for maintaining forest biodiversity. Resource managers can create snags by topping trees to mitigate loss of snags to timber harvest, but information regarding changes in habitat for snag-dependent wildlife over time as created snags decay is lacking. Oregon State University and USGS scientists examined the influence of different harvest treatments on characteristics of large, Douglas-fir snags created 25–27 years ago. Although a large proportion, 91 percent, of the 690 snags created remained standing in contemporary surveys, snags created in harvests that retained few live trees had greater decay compared to snags in less intensive timber harvests. However, bird use was greatest for snags in the most intensive harvest treatment. Results indicate that the influence of harvest treatment on decay patterns and subsequent use by wildlife is an important consideration when intentionally creating snags for wildlife habitat.

Barry, A.M., Hagar, J.C., Rivers, J.W., 2017, Long-term dynamics and characteristics of snags created for wildlife habitat: Forest Ecology and Management, v. 403, no. 2017, p. 145-151, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2017.07.049[Details]

Contact: Joan Hagar, FRESC, 541-750-0984, Profile

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