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    Author(s): Gina L. Tarbill; Angela M. WhitePatricia N. Manley
    Date: 2018
    Source: Avian Conservation and Ecology. 13(1):16
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (702.0 KB)


    The Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) is a snag-associated species that colonizes and utilizes patches of burned forests typically within 10 years of fire. Previous research has indicated that salvage logging, the removal of dead and dying trees from burned forests, has a negative effect on nesting densities of Black-backed Woodpeckers. One strategy proposed to ameliorate the impacts of dead tree removal on Black-backed Woodpeckers is to retain patches, or islands, of dense snags within the salvage matrix, but this approach remains largely untested. Following the Angora fire of South Lake Tahoe, CA several snag islands were retained within the larger salvage prescription to conserve habitat for Black-backed Woodpeckers and other snag-associated species. In this observational study, we evaluate whether these snag islands were effective at maintaining Black-backed Woodpecker populations following logging operations that covered 45% of the burned area. We systematically searched the postfire landscape for Black-backed Woodpecker nests for two years before and after salvage operations and compared nesting densities between logged and unlogged areas. Similar to other studies, we found that nest densities at the stand scale declined significantly in areas that were salvage logged, but Black-backed Woodpeckers did nest in both snag islands and in other peripheral unlogged areas, indicating that this approach may help balance habitat for wildlife with management needs at the scale of the fire. In this study, the removal of dead trees, which is usually implemented in the first two years following fire, did not occur until the fourth year, which may have also contributed to the persistence of Black-backed Woodpeckers postlogging.

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    Tarbill, Gina L.; White, Angela M.; Manley, Patricia N. 2018. The persistence of Black-backed Woodpeckers following delayed salvage logging in the Sierra Nevada. Avian Conservation and Ecology. 13(1): 16.


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    Black-backed Woodpecker, postfire, salvage logging, snag island, snag retention

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