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A land manager's guide to conserving habitat for forest birds in ...

A land manager's guide to conserving habitat for forest birds in ...

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Photo: Robert McCaw towards small, harder pieces of wood and a lack of high quality, large diameter, decayed DWD. Harvesting operations should be conducted to reduce damage to existing downed wood and organic matter, and avoid the removal of existing downed logs. Processing of tops, branches, and log butts should happen at the felling location rather than at landings and roadsides. Managers should strive to accumulate a collection of fallen logs, either from naturally falling snags and cavity trees, or purposely felling trees to remain as downed wood on each hectare of forest. The larger logs of 60 cm or more in diameter and at least 2 m in length are more valuable and have been shown to build up to as many as 10 or more per hectare in natural old growth stands. If not enough downed wood is present naturally, leaving cut logs on the site every few years can create downed wood in various stages of decay. Declining tree and snag requirements for primary cavity nesters Species Optimal diameter ranges for nest tree (cm) Minimum nest tree height (m) Minimum territory size (ha) Snags required/ha to maintain 60–100% of population maximum Black-capped Chickadee 10–18 1 1 4–7 Downy Woodpecker 15–25 3 2 6–10 Hairy Woodpecker 25–35 6 4 3–5 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 25–35 6 2 1.5–2.5 Northern Flicker 30–44 6 10 0.75–1.25 Red-bellied Woodpecker 36–53 9 4 4–7 Red-headed Woodpecker 40–60 9 4 3–5 Pileated Woodpecker 45–65 12 70 0.4–1.25 Snags are standing dead trees or parts of dead trees. Primary cavity nesters need these trees for nesting, feeding, and roosting. Studies counting snags usually set minimum standards like being at least 10 cm in diameter at 1.3 m above the ground and being at least 3 m high. NOTE: Landowner’s should strive to keep as many snags as possible from a range of diameters and species. Male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker — Photo: Mark Peck Male Northern Flicker — Photo: Mark Peck Male Downy Woodpecker — Photo: Mark Peck 68 Guidelines for Forest Management and Maintenance of Forest Bird Diversity

Types of Cavity Trees escape or roost cavity feeding cavity nesting cavity nesting cavity excavated (top) and natural cavity (bottom) Pileated Woodpecker feeding cavities — Photo: Lucas Foerster Artwork: Peter Burke Snag and Cavity Tree Safety The Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations for Industrial Establishments, defines a chicot as a dead tree, or a dead limb of a tree that might endanger a worker. Under that Act, chicots must be lowered to the ground before felling of other trees in their vicinity takes place. In addition, the act requires that employers/ licensees must take every precaution reasonable to protect a worker in the vicinity of dangerous trees such as chicots and certain wildlife trees during non-felling operations (e.g., surveys, planting, maintenance, monitoring). Vicinity generally means a radius equal to or greater than the height of the surrounding stand. Alternatives to leaving chicots as wildlife trees, in order to maximize worker safety during harvesting operations include: • Selecting live trees with health issues (conks, scars, seams) for retention, on the basis that they will likely succumb to stress in their post-harvest environment and become suitable wildlife habitat • Identify live trees that can be killed by girdling or herbicide spraying • Adopting moderate clumping or grouping of chicots as wildlife trees that can be retained in a “no cut” reserve area, as opposed to having them evenly dispersed throughout the stand. • For mechanized harvesting operations, a tree can sometimes be topped to become a “stub” that would no longer be dangerous to workers. The proper selection and distribution of wildlife trees should reduce the potential of creating a dangerous situation for workers during postharvesting operations, such as tree planting. Guidelines for Forest Management and Maintenance of Forest Bird Diversity 69

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