Effects of Post-Fire Salvage Logging on Cavity-Nesting Birds and Small Mammals in Southeastern Montana
Keywords:cavity-nesting birds, downed woody debris, forest management, nest survival, salvage logging, wildfire, Hairy Woodpecker, Picoides villosus, Deer Mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus, Custer National Forest, Montana
AbstractWe investigated how post-fire salvage logging of Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) affected populations of cavity-nesting birds and small mammals in southeastern Montana in 2004 and 2005. We examined two salvage and two control plots with three point-count stations and one small mammal trap site randomly distributed across each plot. We used point counts and distance sampling methods to estimate density of cavity-nesting birds on each treatment. We also searched each plot for nests and used program MARK to construct a set of candidate models to investigate variations in nest survival related to treatment, year, and time. We used live traps arranged in webs centered on trapping sites and distance sampling methods to estimate small mammal density. Habitat characteristics were also quantified on each plot. Density of all cavity-nesting birds combined and of Hairy Woodpeckers (Picoides villosus) in particular were higher on the control than the salvage treatment. Density of large trees and abundance of active cavities were higher on the control treatment. Nest cavities on the salvage treatment were most often located in non-logged watersheds. Nest survival estimates were uniformly high, with only marginal variations attributed to treatment and year. Density of Deer Mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) was higher on the salvage than the control treatment, reflecting the amount of downed woody debris created during harvest.
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