Sustaining Cavity-Using Species: Patterns of Cavity Use and Implications to Forest ManagementReport as inadecuate

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ISRN ForestryVolume 2013 2013, Article ID 457698, 33 pages

Review ArticleForest Sciences Department, University of British Columbia, 3041-2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4

Received 12 September 2012; Accepted 18 October 2012

Academic Editors: F. Castedo-Dorado, T. S. Fredericksen, H. Nahrung, and J. F. Negron

Copyright © 2013 Fred L. Bunnell. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Many bird and mammal species rely on cavities in trees to rear their young or roost. Favourable cavity sites are usually created by fungi, so they are more common in older, dying trees that are incompatible with intensive fiber production. Forestry has reduced amounts of such trees to the extent that many cavity-using vertebrates are now designated “at risk.” The simple model of cavity use presented helps unite research findings, explain patterns of use, and clarify trade-offs that can, or cannot, be made in snag management. Predictions generated are tested using data from over 300 studies. Implications to forest management are derived from the tests, including the following: ensure sustained provision of dying and dead trees, retain both conifers and hardwoods and a range of size and age classes, sustain a range of decay classes, ensure that some large trees or snags are retained, promote both aggregated and dispersed retention of dead and dying trees, meet dead wood requirements for larger species where intensive fibre production is not emphasized, do not do the same thing everywhere, and limit salvage logging after tree mortality. The paper focuses on species breeding in the Pacific Northwest, but draws on data from throughout those species’ ranges.

Author: Fred L. Bunnell



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