Influence of forest management on snags, cavity trees and cavity nesters in Northern hardwoods

Deadwood, being standing (snags) or fallen, represents a key structural element in forest ecosystems. Many flora and wildlife species are directly associated to deadwood for establishment and growth in plants and feeding or nesting in animals, including cavity-tree nesters (primary excavators and seconday users). Some living trees are also important for wildlife as part of their crown is dead or because they bear natural of excavated cavities used by a vast network of associated species.

Rarefaction of these attributes has been targeted as ecological issues by many instances because management tend to reduce their availability. Even if forest cover is maintained at all times in many partial harvesting systems, northern hardwoods don’t escape this trend. Snags are frequently cut, often for safety reasons, thus reducing their availability and preventing them from decaying further. Selection cutting also target low quality and/or low vigour trees. These trees often constitute the deadwood mid- and long-term recruitment reserve and their harvest might imply a reduction in future deadwood availability. Finally, selection cut reduce the availability of very large trees that have a particularly high ecological value, being alive or death.

The objectives of this project is to evaluate 1- the availability of snags and cavity trees in unmanaged forests, 2- the impact of past forest management activities on these structural elements, 3- the network community of cavity users.

The area under study covers two administrative regions of southern Quebec located north of Montréal city (Laurentides and Lanaudière). Many data sources will be used as part of this project. Forest inventories from the Quebec’s ministry of Natural resources will be used as background data and forest inventories will be carried on in the Laurentides and Lanaudière regions in order to get more precise data.

Faculty Supervisor:

Christian Messier


Francisco Garcia Bulle








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