Cutting Trees for the Early Birds

“U.S. Forest Service scientists recently published the results of one of the longest studies conducted on the effects of multiple forest harvest methods on early successional bird species. Published online in Forest Ecology and Management, the articleby Forest Service Southern Research Station research wildlife biologist Roger Perry and retired scientist Ron Thill presents findings from an 18-year study in pine-dominated stands on federal lands in Arkansas and Oklahoma.”

The New Normal

“No one is sure how much of Earth is covered by novel ecosystems, but Erle Ellis, a map specialist at the University of Maryland, has taken a stab at quantifying it. Defining novel ecosystems as “lands without agricultural or urban use embedded within agricultural and urban regions,” Ellis estimates that at least 35 percent of the globe is covered with them. Their share of the planet will probably expand, and many ecologists think that these novel ecosystems are worthy of study and, in some cases, protection.”

Managing For Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

“Despite aggressive efforts to control hemlock woolly adelgid infestations, large numbers of hemlock trees in the Southern Appalachian region are dead or in poor health. This loss has important implications. In addition to providing year-round cover for wildlife, hemlock has a strong influence on streamside habitat conditions and stream health. The shade cast by these majestic trees cools the water where brook trout and other stream organisms live; hemlock needles and wood decompose slowly, providing unique habitat for important forest floor organisms such as salamanders.”

Many of these changes may prove to be short-term or localized; more significant changes are expected in the coming decades as other species replace hemlock. In areas where the evergreen shrub rhododendron is absent, red maple, sweet birch, and yellow poplar will probably take the place of eastern hemlock. Where rhododendron is already present, the shrub will probably spread, and could limit recruitment of overstory tree species.”

Loss of eastern hemlock will affect forest water use

“Rhododendron, a woody evergreen shrub common in southern Appalachian forests, is one of the species replacing eastern hemlock trees. Although rhododendron is evergreen, it has lower leaf area than hemlock, and thus transpiration in rhododendron-dominated forest stands is lower than in previously-healthy hemlock forests. Most of the other species replacing eastern hemlock trees are deciduous, such as sweet birch, which unlike the evergreen rhododendron and eastern hemlock, do not transpire during the winter. Sweet birch trees also have a much higher transpiration rate than eastern hemlock trees during the growing season.”

MdTA hopes platform will lure nest-building osprey away from its traffic cameras

“The Maryland Transportation Authority has installed a platform near the Anne Arundel County side of the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge in the hope that an osprey that had tried to build a nest in front of its traffic cameras there will take the hint and build her nest on the platform.”