Removing hardwood vegetation from pine Pinusspp. forests does not reduce southern flying squirrel Glaucomys volans use of red-cockaded woodpecker Picoides borealis nest cavities in two national forests in Texas, USA
Conner R.N., Rudolph D.C., Saenz D. & Schaefer R.R. (1996) Red-cockaded woodpecker nesting success, forest structure, and southern flying squirrels in Texas. The Wilson Bulletin, 108, 697-711.
Red-cockaded woodpeckers Picoides borealis are endangered and extensive management of pine Pinus spp. forests is undertaken to promote their population recovery. Some management focuses on potential competitors for nest cavities such as southern flying squirrels Glaucomys volans, by removing hardwood midstory vegetation that is thought to encourage squirrels. This study investigates whether squirrel occupancy of nest cavities is affected by removal of this vegetation.
The study was conducted at the Angelina and Davy Crockett National Forests, eastern Texas, USA, at a total of 17 red-cockaded woodpecker territory clusters in mixed loblolly pine Pinus taeda and shortleaf pine P. echinata forests during 1990-1. Ten clusters had previously had midstory hardwood vegetation removed and the remaining seven had such vegetation removed in winter 1990-1.
All red-cockaded woodpecker-suitable nesting cavities were inspected in spring and summer 1990, winter of 1990-1 and spring and summer 1991. The number of cavities occupied by woodpeckers and squirrels was recorded.
There was no significant difference between squirrel or woodpecker occupancy between sites with and without midstory vegetation.
In cleared territory clusters: 51% of cavities were occupied by red-cockaded woodpeckers and 22% by squirrels.
In uncleared territory clusters: 52% were occupied by woodpeckers and 27% by squirrels.
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