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Title: Characteristics of aspen infected with heartrot: Implications for cavity-nesting birds

Author: Witt, Chris;

Date: 2010

Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 260: 1010-1016.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Phellinus tremulae is an important fungal decay agent common to aspen and a critical component to the cavity-nesting bird complex found in western aspen stands. Little information exists on the conditions that facilitate infection and spread of P. tremulae in aspen forests. I used Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data to explore the relationships of several tree and stand characteristics to the presence and frequency of P. tremulae in aspen measured across several western states of the United States. Results suggest a strong relationship between tree age, tree diameter, and compacted crown ratio with infection frequency in trees while stand purity, canopy cover and stand age had a positive relationship with the occurrence of P. tremulae in forest stands containing aspen. Logistic regression modeling identified stand age as the only variable that increased the odds of predicting infection at the stand-level while all tree-level variables were included in the tree model. Data also show that infection rates in the study area were lower than in other parts of aspen's range, and that average size of infected trees was smaller in the study area than those reported elsewhere. These results have important implications to management of aspen for wildlife, especially for birds that use decayed aspen for nesting.

Keywords: aspen, cavity-nesting birds, FIA, heartrot, Interior West, Phellinus tremulae, Populus tremuloides

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Witt, Chris. 2010. Characteristics of aspen infected with heartrot: Implications for cavity-nesting birds. Forest Ecology and Management. 260: 1010-1016.


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