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 NNRG Newsletter | May 2020 
 

STEWARDING A WILDLIFE-RICH FOREST

DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE


The vast majority of forests where NNRG works are former monoculture plantations that have moved into new ownership with a broader array of management objectives. Although many of these new forest owners still want to sustain timber harvesting on their lands, they want to do so in a manner that gives more weight to wildlife habitat and biodiversity. Wildlife habitat is the arrangement of three essential ingredients: the food, cover, and water that are required to meet the biological needs of one or more species. 

From my perspective, one of the greatest values of transitioning from even-aged to uneven-aged forest management is the structural diversity that lends itself to a broader range of habitat options for wildlife. For instance, creating forests with multiple canopy layers is tremendously beneficial to bird diversity, as different insects occupy different strata within a forest, attracting different bird species to each. Variable stocking densities also have a significant influence on understory shrub diversity, which increases browse options for ungulates, and mast (berries, nuts, and seeds) for both birds and small mammals. 

The most common missing habitat structures in second and third growth forests are snags and downed logs. More than 100 species of wildlife, and over 400 species of insects, utilize dead wood in the forest for some part of their habitat needs. When these structures are missing, so are the wildlife. What’s always astonishing to me is the contrast between historic stocking levels of dead wood, and what habitat biologists suggest as minimum quantities to sustain wildlife. For instance, forest biologists have recorded 50-140 downed logs per acre in undisturbed forests on the west side of the Cascades, and an average of 16 snags per acre. However, the most recent studies reveal that to retain viable populations of cavity nesters, a minimum of four snags greater than 10 inches in diameter are needed per acre, with about two of these greater than 20 inches in diameter. Habitat biologists also suggest a minimum of 6-8 downed logs per acre of similar dimensions.

For those of us who are starting on this pathway from an even-aged and monoculture plantation, achieving these uneven-aged forest conditions and habitat structures may seem both daunting and a distant goal. I think it’s important to keep in mind that we can get there from here, and time and careful stewardship are our two best tools. The minimum targets that habitat biologists suggest for dead wood can be short term goals, and the extent to which you want to increase the quantity of habitat structures should be informed by your own personal forest management goals and objectives.

Kirk Hanson
Director of Forestry
(360) 316-9317
kirk@nnrg.org

HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT ECOLOGICAL FORESTRY!

Today is the final day of GiveBig, Washington’s largest online giving event.

With your support, we can help forest owners practice the kind of forest stewardship that pays both ecological and economic returns.

That forestry in turn protects streams for the sake of salmon as well as municipal water supplies, stores more carbon in the forest to dampen the impact of global warming, and bolsters the forest economy for rural residents. 


Help us share ecological forest management with more landowners in the Pacific Northwest.

Make a gift to support ecological forestry

WEBINARS & ONLINE EVENTS

Log-Grown Specialty Mushrooms
WSU Extension
View recorded webinar

Managing to Keep Your Forest Healthy
OSU Extension Tree School
View recorded webinar

The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter
Oregon Wild
View recorded webinar

Making Shiitake Happen
OSU Extension Tree School
View recorded webinar

Early Spring Wildflowers of Central Oregon - Virtual Walk
Deschutes Land Trust
View recorded webinar

Your Property Taxes & Your Forestland
OSU Extension Tree School
View recorded webinar

COVID-19 and the Oregon Forest Sector
OSU Extension Tree School
View recorded weginar

UPDATES FROM NNRG

Stuck inside? Build a wildlife box.

In Pacific Northwest forests, dead wood works wonders for wildlife. But when there isn't enough naturally occurring dead wood around, you might need to do some woodworking wonders yourself.


The best solution to to a dearth of dead wood in your forest is to begin to cultivate more standing dead and down wood. See here for ideas on creating snags from living trees and here for a guide on habitat piles and constructed logs. 

But if you're limited in your ability to create your own snags—or just a little impatient—you can replicate some of their ecological and habitat functions by building wildlife nesting and roosting boxes. 

Visit our blog for some helpful links to bird box and bat box plans!

Beavers, bobcats, and bears, oh my!

If a bear ambles through a forest while no one's watching, was it really there?

Thanks to wildlife cams we can figure out which forest critters walked where and when. As to why...well sometimes that remains a mystery. 

We asked for your best wildlife/trail cam pics, and you answered! NNRG members and partners sent in their favorite covert photos of wildlife in their forests. 

Enjoy the collection of wildlife cam photos here!
 

 Bonus: Caption contest
What's happening in this photo? 
Submit your caption idea here!

Header photo courtesy of Peter Hayes, Hyla Woods.
Elk photo courtesy of Ruth Ferris, Ferris Family Forest.

NEWS

The pandemic might set back field science for years. With the majority of environment-focused scientists, natural resource managers and field technicians who study and maintain the natural world working remotely to flatten the curve, the flow of crucial data yielded by fieldwork has essentially been frozen. 
The fire we need: Can managed fire heal more than just the forests? Without authorized burn bosses and extensive firefighting equipment, such as fire engines, Indigenous communities have been restricted in their use of fire. This is where the Indigenous Peoples Burning Network and its sister networks [...] come in. 
In your words: How small forest landowners are responding to COVID-19 outbreak. Earlier this month, Washington DNR Small Forest Landowner Office Manager Tami Miketa asked landowners how they are staying safe and staying sane during the pandemic. The following is a selection of their responses.
Northwest maple syrup? UW testing local bigleaf maples for sweet industry. UW scientists hope their research on bigleaf maple syrup could grow an industry that boosts margins for small landowners, prevents the conversion of forest land for development and nourishes a more diverse forest.

RESOURCES ON MANAGING YOUR FOREST FOR WILDLIFE

For many forest owners, creating and enhancing the habitat value of their woods is a top priority. Many stewardship actions can make your forest a better home for native Northwest critters, from creating snags and down logs to installing nest boxes and pollinator-supporting hedgerows. Identifying your resident species and optimizing habitat for them can be one of the most compelling rewards of forest stewardship. Find resources on these activities and more below. 
General Information on Wildlife
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Header image by Mark Biser, Still Waters Farm
Copyright © 2020 Northwest Natural Resource Group, All rights reserved.


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