Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain

GeoTreesearch - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

(1.05 MB bytes)

Title: The longevity of large pine snags in eastern Texas

Author: Conner, Richard N.; Saenz, Daniel

Date: 2005

Source: Wildlife Society Bulletin. 33(2): 700-705

Publication Series: Not categorized

Description: Habitat for cavity-nesting wildlife is closely tied to the availability of standing dead trees (snags). Large snags (>40 cm dbh) are particularly important because they provide cavity- excavation substrate for both large and small cavity excavators. Historically in the southern United States, common belief has been that the utility of pine (Pinus spp.) snags for cavity nesters occurs for only a short period of time after tree death because pine snags quickly decay and fall to the ground. We studied the deterioration rate and ultimate falling of large pine snags in eastern Texas over a 20-year period (1983–2003). Coinciding with our annual checks of red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) cavity-tree clusters, we checked the status and height of all red-cockaded woodpecker cavity trees that died. We determined the cause of death and tree species of 136 cavity tree snags (x - =25.4 m at death) and monitored their height annually until they were <1 m in height. Five years after tree death, 92 snags (67.6%) were still standing and averaged 13.9 m in height. Ten years after tree death, 21 snags (15.4%) were still standing and averaged 10.0 m in height. After 15 years 4 snags (2.9%) averaging 5.3 m in height still remained standing. Two snags (1.5%), averaging 2.7 m in height, survived through 19 years but had fallen by the end of the twentieth year. Pines dying from wind snap at mid-bole survived longer as snags (x - =9.7 years) than pines killed by bark-beetles (Dendroctonus spp.) (x - = 5.9 years). Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) snags remained standing longer (x - =8.0 years) than loblolly pine (P. taeda) snags (x - =6.0 years) (P<0.05), but not longer (P>0.05) than shortleaf pine (P. echinata) snags (x - =6.6 years).

Keywords: cavity nesters, Picoides borealis, pine, red-cockaded woodpecker, snags, wildlife

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Conner, Richard N.; Saenz, Daniel. 2005. The longevity of large pine snags in eastern Texas. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 33(2): 700-705.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.