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Quantification of Lewis's Woodpecker habitat using Forest Inventory and Analysis dataAuthor(s): Chris Witt
Source: In: McWilliams, Will; Moisen, Gretchen; Czaplewski, Ray, comps. Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Symposium 2008; October 21-23, 2008; Park City, UT. Proc. RMRS-P-56CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 16 p.
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (130 B)
DescriptionThe Utah Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) placed Lewis's Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis) on their Sensitive Species Tier II list due to declining populations and suspected local extirpations throughout the state. It is thought that the decline in burned coniferous forest has reduced the amount of suitable habitat for these birds, which are known to be closely tied to disturbed landscapes. The UDWR has identified several key components of Lewis Woodpecker habitat using an Ecological Integrity Table (EIT). An EIT identifies "key ecological attributes" such as breeding habitat, food, and their acceptable range of variation as measured by selected indicators. The main indicators for Lewis's Woodpecker breeding habitat were identified as plant association (i.e. forest type), tree canopy cover, and number of suitably-sized snags per hectare of habitat. Each of these indicators is measured in some fashion by FIA crews on every visited phase 2 forested plot. The indicators and their FIA surrogates were used in this analysis to quantify breeding habitat that occurs within and outside of Lewis's Woodpecker's preferred habitat of burned coniferous forests in Utah. We produced area estimates for each indicator thought to be important to Lewis's Woodpecker as well as estimates of forest land that provide all of the structural components in concert. We demonstrated the utility of FIA data for large scale habitat evaluation, identifying limiting attributes, and as a monitoring tool for habitats of sensitive species that use forested landscapes at some point of their life history.
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CitationWitt, Chris. 2009. Quantification of Lewis''s Woodpecker habitat using Forest Inventory and Analysis data. In: McWilliams, Will; Moisen, Gretchen; Czaplewski, Ray, comps. Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Symposium 2008; October 21-23, 2008; Park City, UT. Proc. RMRS-P-56CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 16 p.
KeywordsLewis's Woodpecker, Melanerpes lewis, breeding habitat, FIA, monitoring, ecological integrity table
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