Trees and Animals
Trees support the lives of many large organisms. Trees are used for
food, shelter, and sites for reproduction. Many animals also use trees for
resting, nesting and for places from which to hunt or capture prey.
The major characteristics of a tree that benefits wildlife is size. A good tree for wildlife must be a big tree. Small, decaying trees may support wildlife, but only small animals for a short time. The large healthy tree that has a few wounds, and a few cavities will have long term benefits for many small and large organisms. Some large animals can only use large trees for shelter. The point here is that even when we talk about wildlife and cavities we still must talk about healthy trees. A healthy long-lived tree will be a better wildlife tree.
As forests are cut repeatedly, the number of large, old, healthy trees decreases. The best way to force an organism into extinction is not to attack the organism but to attack its niche; the place where it lives and reproduces. To try to protect an organism on one side, and to destroy its niche on the other side is a folly we see done worldwide. This is why so many animals are becoming extinct, or have entered the list of endangered species.
Animals, like the microorganisms, require their territories to be so large. When the boundaries of the territories begin to shrink, the niche loses one of its major requirements: space to live and reproduce. And niches in the forest have boundaries just as the niches within trees have boundaries. Streams, ledges, soil type change, and other natural formations set the natural boundaries. Man has added some new boundaries as roads, dams, and all types of construction have changed water drainage patterns and have made some territories smaller. Trees and organisms that live in, on, and about trees can still adapt to some of these changes. But, when the changes repeat faster than adaptation can occur, trouble will result for trees and its community of associated organisms.
This chapter expands on this theme. Again, this is not a quick course in wildlife management or wildlife biology. It is a chapter on trees and some of their larger associates.
The photo below shows an eastern hemlock with many holes made by the yellow- bellied sapsucker. Examine the site carefully. This area was recently logged. There is not much left for wildlife.
1. Managing Cavity Trees for Wildlife in the Northeast
2. Doc: Logging "What It Is "
3. Doc: A "Call" for sound science in the management of the ecological stages of trees.
4. Other papers of connections.
Suggested book on "Pruning".
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