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Title: Ecological forestry, old growth, and birds in the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystem

Author: Engstrom, R. Todd; Conner, Richard N.;

Date: 2006

Source: Acta Zoalogica Sinica, Vol. 52: 697-701

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Renewed awareness of the longleaf-pine ecosystem and a legal mandate to provide suitable habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) have generated interest in alternative forms of silviculture in the southeastern United States. Of 110-120 species of birds that occur in longleaf pine woodlands, 26 species (including three that are federally ranked) require special management attention. Over 80% of the extant ecosystem occurs on government-owned or privately-owned nonindustrial property, and constitutes potential sites for ecological forestry. Intensive forest management eliminates much of the structural complexity of old-growth longleaf pine woodlands that supports high avian community species richness. Two silvicultural systems that are candidates for a more ecological approach - irregular shelterwood and uneven-aged management - retain structural characteristics of old-growth forests, but more research is needed to contrast their relative effects on bird populations. Retention or development of old-growth characteristics - old trees, horizontal heterogeneity and openness, ground-cover integrity, sparse distribution of hardwoods, and coarse woody debris, including snags would reintroduce valuable complexity within the longleaf pine ecosystem for supporting avian communities of higher species richness.

Keywords: ecological forestry, fire, forest birds, old-growth, Southeast United States

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Engstrom, R. Todd; Conner, Richard N. 2006. Ecological forestry, old growth, and birds in the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystem. Acta Zoalogica Sinica, Vol. 52: 697-701


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