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    Many species of vertebrates depend on snags (standing dead trees) for persistence, and limited research suggests that snag density is lower in areas of intensive timber harvest and increased human access. While intensive timber harvest is one source of potential snag loss, ease of human access to forest stands may also facilitate loss via firewood cutting of snags. Accordingly, we hypothesized that density of snags (number of snags! ha) would decline in forest stands with increasing intensity of timber harvest and increasing ease of human access. We tested our hypothesis by sampling stands under varying levels of timber harvest and access on National Forest land in the northwestern United States. Stands with no history of timber harvest had 3 times the density of snags as stands selectively harvested, and 19 times the density as stands having undergone complete harvest. Stands not adjacent to roads had almost 3 times the density of snags as stands adjacent to roads. Unharvested stands adjacent to non-federal lands and closer to towns had lower snag density, as did stands with fiat terrain in relation to nearest road. Our findings demonstrate that timber harvest and human access can have substantial effects on snag density. Meeting snag objectives for wildlife will require careful planning and effective mitigations as part of management of timber harvest and human access.

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    Wisdom, Michael J.; Bate, Lisa J. 2008. Snag density varies with intensity of timber harvest and human access. ForestEcology and Management, Vol. 255: 2085-2093


    access, forest management, roads, snags, snag density, timber harvest, wildlife

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