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    Description

    The red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) population at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina has been the subject of intensive management and research activities designed to restore the population. By late 1985, the population was on the verge of being extirpated with only four individuals remaining. Older live pine trees that red-cockaded woodpeckers require for cavity construction were limited as the result of timber harvesting that had occurred primarily prior to the 1950's. To prevent the loss of this population and to provide for population growth, the habitat is now managed intensively, including construction of artificial cavities, control of cavity competitors, and removal of the hardwood mid-story to improve nesting habitat quality. Along with careful monitoring of the birds, translocations are being undertaken to enhance the number of breeding pairs and the overall population size, as well as to minimize potential adverse genetic consequences of a small, virtually isolated population. During 1986- 1996, we completed 54 translocations, installed 305 artificial cavities, and removed 2,304 southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) (a user of red-cockaded woodpecker cavities). During this period, the number of breeding pairs of red-cockaded woodpeckers increased from 1 to 19 and the overall population size grew from 4 to 99 individuals. Additional data collected pursuant to arthropod prey base, foraging behavior, and home range studies, have provided information that is helping us better understand and manage this species. We are in the process of synthesizing these data into a GIS-implemented computer-based landscape model to assess the possible impacts of various management options on the long-term viability of the red-cockaded woodpecker on the site.

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    Citation

    Franzreb, Kathleen E.; Lloyd, F. Thomas. 2000. Integration of long-term research into a GIS-based landscape habitat model for the red-cockaded Woodpecker. Studies in Avian Biology. 21:65-74.

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/2257