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 | EurekAlert!
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine
25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy