Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Managing forests requires a bird’s-eye view

03.06.2011
Managers of northern Michigan forests may not see the birds for the trees – or at least are in danger of losing sight of songbird neighborhoods when looking out for timber harvests.

In a novel look at managing both the future’s timber harvest while being mindful of the impact on key songbirds in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Michigan State University researchers use a new forest simulation model for the first time to look at what timber-friendly hardwood regeneration can mean to bird habitat. And it’s a long-range look, given that the time lag between forest management decisions and impact are generations.

The results are reported in “Combined long-term effects of variable tree regeneration and timber management on forest songbirds and timber production” online in the journal Forest Ecology and Management.

“Foresters are farmers – but instead of sowing and harvesting in six months, they need to think 50 years in the future,” said James Millington, the paper’s lead author and former post-doctoral researcher at Michigan State University’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (CSIS). “If you are worried about the state of the forest in 100 years time, you need to think about it now and you’ll need good models like we’re developing.”

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home not only to a thriving timber industry, but also is an important breeding ground to many songbird species of conservation concern. Birds, Millington explained, are particular about their neighborhoods – having specific preferences for how open the forest canopy is and how high and sturdy branches are. If a forest changes considerably as it is harvested and regrows, birds won’t be as successful at nesting and reproducing.

Paper coauthors are Michael Walters, associate professor of forestry; Megan Matonis, who recently earned a master’s degree in forestry while a CSIS member; Edward Laurent, a former CSIS doctoral student now science coordinator at the American Bird Conservancy; Kimberly Hall, climate change scientist at The Nature Conservancy; and Jianguo “Jack” Liu, Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability and director of the center.

The group engaged in a complicated birds-eye view of the forest, seeking to understand how four key songbirds – the black-throated green warbler, eastern wood-pewee, least flycatcher and rose-breasted grosbeak – dealt with neighborhood upheaval. The study area stretches over some 3,000 square miles of public and private land from Crystal Falls to the west, east and south to Escanaba and north of Marquette. For two years, the team examined the harvest gaps left in forests when hardwoods are cut down.

Logging changes a forest’s composition – creating gaps in the canopy that can take years to fill. Matonis, Millington’s colleague, recently reported that the current popular way of encouraging regeneration of hardwoods, called gap harvesting, isn’t always successful. Sometimes it appears deer are chowing on the maple seedling trying to grow in the sunny gaps left by harvest.

The four songbird species the team picked all are fussy about their canopy. For example, the warbler likes its canopy dense with lots of branches about 50 feet high. The flycatcher, however, digs more open expanses.

“If all the birds like the same thing – understanding consequences of logging and differences in tree regeneration would be easier,” Millington said.

The analysis is ambitious and complicated. The team seeks to create models that show how a forest shapes up at different rates of regeneration, both in timber-centric and bird-centric points of view.

The bottom line: Regeneration in harvest gaps of species that become large canopy dominant trees such as sugar maple is crucial for forest managers to have choices. If trees aren’t growing back well, there’s no opportunity to even start watching out for the forest’s residents.

“Essentially for birds in these forests it’s the density of sugar maple regeneration that has the biggest effect on their future habitat,” Millington said. “These birds are picky about their overstory – and if regeneration is changing the forest now, in 100 years times your canopy is going to be very different.

“We know how to grow trees pretty well and we can get timber, but people who manage timber need to talk to people who manage for wildlife, and they all need information to make decisions.”

The research is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and MSU's AgBioResearch. Millington is now a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at King's College in London, UK.

The center works in the innovative new field of coupled human and natural systems to find sustainable solutions that both benefit the environment and enable people to thrive.

Contact:
Sue Nichols
Assistant Director
Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability
517-432-0206
nichols@msu.edu

Sue Nichols | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.msu.edu

Further reports about: CSIS Conservancy Sustainability Upper bird species

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt

nachricht Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>