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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Retain dead trees after uprooting Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Key messages

Read our guidance on Key messages before continuing

  • One study evaluated the effects on mammals of retaining dead trees after uprooting. This study was in the USA.




  • Use (1 study): A replicated, controlled study in the USA found that areas where trees were uprooted but left on site were used more by desert cottontails than were cleared areas.

Supporting evidence from individual studies


A replicated, controlled study in 1965–1968 of pinyon-juniper forest at a site in New Mexico, USA (Kundaeli & Reynolds 1972) found that where trees were uprooted but left on site, more desert cottontail Sylvilagus auduboni faecal pellets were counted than in fully cleared areas. Results were not tested for statistical significance. Where uprooted trees were left, there were 3.2 cottontail pellets/ft2 compared to 1.0 pellets/ft2 where trees were uprooted and burned. In each of two blocks, there was one plot with all trees uprooted and left on site and one with all trees uprooted, piled up and burned. Plots covered 300–500 acres each. Treatments were carried out in 1965. Cottontail pellets were counted on randomly selected sample points on belts of l/400 acre within the middle of each plot, in 1968.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Littlewood, N.A., Rocha, R., Smith, R.K., Martin, P.A., Lockhart, S.L., Schoonover, R.F., Wilman, E., Bladon, A.J., Sainsbury, K.A., Pimm S. and Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Terrestrial Mammal Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for terrestrial mammals excluding bats and primates. Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.