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Article
Causes of Mortality of Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Cavity Trees
Faculty Publications
  • Richard N. Conner, Wildlife Habitat and Silviculture Laboratory, Southern Research Station, U.S.D.A., Forest Service, Nacogdoches, Texas 75962
  • D. Craig Rudolph, Wildlife Habitat and Silviculture Laboratory, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 506 Hayter Street, Nacogdoches, TX 75962
  • David Kulhavy, Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, Stephen F. Austin State University
  • Ann Snow
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
1-1-1991
Disciplines
Abstract

Over a 13-year period we examined the mortality of cavity trees (n = 453) used by red-cockaded woodpeckers (Picoides borealis) on national forests in eastern Texas. Bark beetles (53%), wind snap (30%), and fire (7%) were the major causes of cavity tree mortality. Bark beetles were the major cause of mortality in loblolly (Pinus taeda) and shortleaf (P. echinata) pines, whereas fire was the major cause in longleaf pines (P. palustris). Cavity trees on the Angelina National Forest (NF) were dying at a higher rate than new, complete cavities were being excavated. Cavity enlargement by pileated woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus) on the Angelina NF was substantial, with 20% (49/ 249) of the cavity trees being enlarged over 7 years. To reduce cavity tree mortality, site disturbances in cluster areas (e.g., midstory control, prescribed burning, thinning) should be minimized during years when southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis) populations are elevated. Careful planning of timber cutting to avoid funneling wind into cluster areas might reduce wind damage to cavity trees.

Citation Information
Richard N. Conner, D. Craig Rudolph, David Kulhavy and Ann Snow. "Causes of Mortality of Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Cavity Trees" (1991)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david_l_kulhavy/21/