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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Friday, June 1, 2012

The aftermath of forest burns provides teriffic habitat for the endangered Black-Backed Woodpecker.............They utilize dead snags for nests and gorge on the wood boring beetles that inhabit these type woodlands for up to about 10 years post forest fire.............If we salvage too much of post fire woodlands, the "Black Backed" could cease to exist as a species


An intensely burned forest of dense, fire-killed trees is perhaps the most maligned, misunderstood and imperiled habitat. Far from being destroyed, a naturally burned forest harbors extraordinarily rich biological diversity, and there’s no better flagship species to help us embrace that than the black-backed woodpecker. This bird inhabits dense, mature and old-growth boreal and montane coniferous forests throughout northern North America. But the woodpecker prefers its mature and old-growth trees to be snags — because it loves to eat the wood-boring beetles that flock to large dead and moribund trees, responding to insect outbreaks following fires, windfall, and large-scale drought- or beetle-induced mortality events.

 Black-backed woodpeckers depend upon an unpredictable and ephemeral environment that may remain suitable for at most seven to 10 years after fire; their populations are clearly regulated by the extent of fires and insect outbreaks — and by the management actions people choose to take in those affected forests.

historical range of the black-capped woodpecker

Unfortunately, the U.S. Forest Service and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection provide absolutely no regulatory protection for intensely burned forests on private and public lands. Not only does intensely burned forest habitat have no legal protection — standard practice on private and public lands is to actively eliminate it. So as soon as fire and insect outbreaks create prime black-backed woodpecker habitat, salvage logging destroys it, while fire suppression — also standard practice — prevents the creation of new black-backed woodpecker habitat.

To protect this woodpecker and the post-fire ecosystems it depends on throughout California, in September 2010 the Center and the John Muir Project petitioned to list the bird under the California Endangered Species Act. Two years later, we and three other groups filed a petition under the federal Endangered Species Act to protect two small and genetically distinct populations of the black-backed woodpecker, one in Oregon/California and the other in South Dakota

source-Center for Biological Diversity

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