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Dead Trees Bring Life to the Forests

Dead trees may be unsightly and potentially hazardous but they provide important habitat for numerous wildlife. For landowners, dead wood is a commonly overlooked resource. Some management plans may only consider the species and age of live vegetation but evidence shows that wildlife value wood more after death. Preferable dead wood includes; standing dead trees called “snags”, piles of sticks that create brush piles, and logs consisting of large diameter trees that have fallen to the ground. 

Tree cavities are an important resource for a variety of birds and mammals. Although live trees rarely have cavities, snags will often form cavities within the tree. These pre-formed cavities are essential, since only a small number of wildlife species that use cavities can create them on their own. If snags are removed this type of habitat will be limited and may impact the survival of dependent wildlife species. It is recommended that managers maintain an absolute minimum of 3 snags per acre.

 

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