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Observations on the use of stubs by wild birds: A 10-year update

Brian Harris


In British Columbia, many species of wildlife depend on dead or dying trees; however, current Workers� Compensation Board regulations require that such trees be felled. In 1990, in an effort to reconcile workers� safety with wildlife habitat needs, Pope and Talbot Limited proposed the creation of a number of tall stumps (3–5 m tall) in their logging operations. In the study cutblock, approximately 170 lodgepole pine stumps (“stubs”) were cut. Since their establishment, the stubs were monitored for bird nesting each spring. A total of 86 active nests have been counted in 10 years. Ninety-five percent of this nesting occurred in stubs in the clearcut portion of the block, versus 5% in the selectively logged portion. Approximately 16% of the stubs were used for nesting at least once during the 10 years of observations. In general, the greater the diameter of the stub, the greater likelihood that it would be used for nesting. All nesting occurred in reworked holes; no new nest holes were drilled in these stubs.
Stub creation should continue to be a part of the wildlife tree management strategy in any logging operation, irrespective of the species of tree being harvested. The average density should be at least one stub per hectare, but preferably much higher to ensure that suitable nest stubs are retained. Stubs that are not used for nesting may provide perching or feeding sites, and contribute to the area�s coarse woody debris when they fall. Stub creation involves little extra cost and little volume is lost. Therefore, all forest companies should be encouraged to create stubs as part of responsible forest stewardship.


Stubs; Wild Birds; 10; Year; Brian; Harris; Pope and Talbot; density;B. Harris

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