Traditional silvicultural practices focus on manipulating forest vegetation structure for commodity production. Structural features important to wildlife, such as snags, trees with decay, and cavity trees are also affected by forest management, but these effects are often not quantified. This study measured the effects of different thinning intensities (45, 60, and 75% residual relative densities and uncut controls), heartwood decay resistance (resistant, slight), and age (formed pre- or post-treatment) on the density and volume of snags and decayed wood in an Appalachian hardwood stand. Cavity trees considered useful to local woodpecker species were also measured. Results indicated that snags and decayed wood were two to four times more abundant in controls compared with heavily thinned (45% residual density) treatments.
Graves, Aaron T.; Fajvan, Mary Ann; Miller, Gary W. 2000. The effects of thinning intensity on snag and cavity tree abundance in an Appalachian hardwood stand. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 30: 1214-1220.