Standing deadwood is an important attribute of old-growth boreal forests and it provides essential microhabitats for deadwood-associated species. In managed boreal forests, short rotations tend to limit the amount and diversity of standing deadwood. This study evaluates if the anthropogenic supply of deadwood attributes through tree girdling or by providing nest boxes may favor deadwood-associated species. We studied the short-term response of saproxylic beetles, foraging woodpeckers, and secondary cavity users to snag and cavity supply in 50 to 70-year-old black spruce stands. In spring 2015, we girdled 8000 black spruce according to two spatial distributions (uniform and clustered), and we also installed 450 nest boxes of six different sizes at three distances from the forest edge. Using trunk window traps, we captured significantly more beetles in sites with girdled trees than in control sites in both 2015 and 2016. We also recorded a trend of a greater abundance of beetles in clusters of girdled trees than within uniformly distributed girdled trees. Trypodendron lineatum
(Oliver) dominated beetle assemblages, representing 88.5% of all species in 2015 and 74.6% in 2016. The number of beetles captured was 7× higher in 2015 than in 2016. In contrast, we observed greater amounts of woodpecker foraging marks in fall 2016 than in either fall 2015 or spring 2016. Woodpeckers foraged significantly more in clusters of girdled trees than within uniformly distributed girdled trees. Woodpeckers’ foraging mark presence was positively associated with the proportion of recent cuts at 1 km around the study sites. Five Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus
Forster) pairs used nest boxes and occupied smaller box sizes that were located away from the forest edge. Our study showed that structural enrichment can be effective in rapidly attracting deadwood-associated species within managed forest stands.
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