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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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Thursday, October 25, 2012

A clearcut forest swept clear of woody debris is truly a moonscape---a sterile environment that is narrow in its species content--Conversely, a logged forest where loggers leave piles and windrows of woody debris at least 2 meters high and 5 meters wide offer a conservation measure that can benefit small native mammals like voles, mice and chipmunks---The more of these creatures in a cutover zone, the more likely to see the mesocarnivore suite present, including fox, coyote, bobcat, fisher, lynx and marten

Forestry's Waste Wood Offers Habitat for Small Forest-Floor Animals

ScienceDaily  — The wood that remains after a tree harvesting operation is often burned to reduce the hazard of fire or is removed for bioenergy production. But another option should be considered -- leaving the wood for forest wildlife whose habitat has been disturbed during clear-cut forestry operations. Woody debris on the floor of the forest is essential for maintaining biodiversity and long-term ecosystem productivity.

woody debris left on the ground after logging

The Journal of Mammalogy presents a study of coarse woody debris left behind from forestry and salvage harvesting of wood. Researchers tested the abundance and species diversity of small forest-floor mammals under varying wood conditions: dispersed wood debris, piles of wood debris, windrows of wood debris, and uncut mature forest.
Clear-cutting remains the dominant method of forestry in North America and northern Europe. This process can interrupt the ecology of the forest. Small mammals that offer prey for predators, consume plants and invertebrates, and disperse fungal spores may disappear.

woody debris left after select logging operation

The current study was conducted in three locations in British Columbia, Canada, from 2007 to 2009. The responses of animals to the four types of wooded areas were recorded. Small mammals were captured, tagged, and released at each of the sites to determine the number of species present. In the winter, their tracks were counted to determine the frequency of animal visits to particular habitats or features.
Nine species of small mammals were captured. Contrary to expectations, species were just as abundant in clear-cut areas as they were in uncut matureforest. However, generalist species, such as deer mouse, chipmunk, and shrew, increased while specialist species, such as the red-backed vole, declined. The red-backed vole is important as a principal prey for marten, a species of concern in Canada.

clear cut with no woody debris left behind

The number and diversity of species, including the red-backed vole, increased primarily around piles and windrows of woody debris. These stacks, at least 2 meters high and 5 meters wide, offer a conservation measure that can benefit the small natives of the forest floor.

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