Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Forest Regrowth in Clearcuts Vital to Birds

Black-throated green warblers like this one
 were abundant in harvested openings
 following the breeding season.
Recently came across this interesting article on ScienceDaily.Com.  It looks at the issues surrounding declining forest-interior bird species.  In the past we largely looked at preserving large intact tracts of mature forest where birds breed.  In this study, performed by Scott Stoleson of the US Forest Service's Northern Research Station, interior breeding birds were followed through the use of mist netting and banding following the breeding season and just prior to migration to assess their overall condition.  What he found is quite telling and suggest that forest regrowth in clearcuts may be vital to birds as they prepare for fall migration.

Science Daily: Science News, August 21, 2013
Efforts to conserve declining populations of forest-interior birds have largely focused on preserving the mature forests where birds breed, but a U.S. Forest Service study suggests that in the weeks leading up to migration, younger forest habitat may be just as important.

In an article published recently in the American Ornithologist Union's publication The Auk, research wildlife biologist Scott Stoleson of the U.S. Forest Service's Northern Research Station suggests that forest regrowth in clearcuts may be vital to birds as they prepare for fall migration.

The study suggests that declines in forest-interior species may be due in part to the increasing maturity and homogenization of forests. Openings created by timber harvesting may increase habitat for some forest interior birds, according to Stoleson. "Humans have really changed the nature of mature forests in the Northeast," Stoleson said. "Natural processes that once created open spaces even within mature forests, such as fire, are largely controlled, diminishing the availability of quality habitat."

To read the full story click here.

This story is a great follow-up to a post a made back on March 25, 2013.
Young Forests Equal Healthy Habitat for Wildlife

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Forest Fast Breaks - short videos on the benefits of forests

Forest Fast Breaks from
I recently learned about a web site put out by Dovetail Partners, Inc. called ForestInfo.org.  The site has a lot of educational information on it.  Dovetail Partners, Inc. provides information about the impacts and trade-offs of environmental decisions, including consumption choices, land use, and policy alternatives.

One of the things I found particularly interesting and useful on the site were their Forest Fast Breaks.  These are great short videos covering a host of different forest related topics from Clearcutting to Green Building and Reforestation.  Their purpose is to: "simplify complex forestry topics into concise, engaging animated shorts with sound affects and narration." I watched a couple and they were fairly good. They might be of interest in your outreach, work with youth, etc or just to watch and learn.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Some Good News About Emerald Ash Borer

Woodpecker holes looking for EAB larva.

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive highly destructive wood-boring insect that attacks ash trees, was first discovered in SE Michigan in 2002.  Since that time it has killed more than  40 million ash trees in the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, and Illinois.  In Pennsylvania is has now been detected in 41 counties, Erie County was just recently added to the list.  It has now become an international problem, occurring on more 18 states and Canada and is expected to cost in the billions of dollars in tree loss, control, and eradication efforts.  State and federal regulatory agencies have made EAB a top priority.

So what could possibly be good about the loss of ash trees (white, green, and black ash) from this destructive insect?  Well, apparently if you are a woodpecker this insect is a great food source and a boom to your population.  Researchers with the U.S. Forest Service and Cornell University were able to document huge population increases in 3 species of woodpeckers (downy, hairy, and red-bellied) as well as the white-breasted nuthatch, a bark gleaning species.  These species have figured out that EAB is edible and it has actually helped them to increase their reproductive success.  Even as tree are killed these species stand to benefit from an abundance of possible cavity trees for nesting.

EAB larva under bark.
So as federal, state, and local authorities work to find ways to slow the spread of the insect or stop it altogether many birds species are actually be benefiting from the increased food supply. 

Increase in Woodpecker Populations Linked to Feasting on Emerald Ash Borer
MORGANTOWN, WV, August 8, 2013 - The scourge of forests, the emerald ash borer, or EAB, is usually described with words like “destructive” and “pest.” A recent study based on data collected by citizen scientists suggests that one more adjective might apply, at least from a bird’s perspective: “delicious.”
In a study published this week in the journal Biological Invasions, U.S. Forest Service entomologist Andrew Liebhold and Cornell Universityscientist Walter Koenig and others document how an EAB invasion fueled a population boom for four species of birds in the Detroit area.

To read the full story click here.