Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New study: Aggressive conifer removal benefits Sierra aspen

21.11.2014

A study just published by Point Blue Conservation Science shows the benefits of an aggressive approach to restoring Sierra Nevada aspen stands (Populus tremuloides).

Most of the aspen stands that dotted the Sierra Nevada less than a century ago are gone or in poor health. Aspen stands can increase groundwater, enrich soils and support a higher diversity of plants and wildlife, relative to adjacent forest types. Keeping aspen stands as part of our forests is critical to maintaining a healthy Sierra Nevada forest ecosystem for people and wildlife.

The study, published in Restoration Ecology, documents the effectiveness of using traditional logging equipment to remove all but the largest Ponderosa pine, white fir and other conifers encroaching on remnant aspen stands. The study's authors used focal bird species as a way to measure if aspen stands were restored.

"Aspen thrive in the time between frequent wildfires," said Ryan Burnett, Sierra Nevada Group director and one of the study's authors. "Without fire, the conifers take over. Aspen stands now make up less than one percent of the Sierra Nevada landscape. We wanted to see if healthy aspen stands could be restored with a fairly aggressive approach."

Beginning in 1999, the U.S. Forest Service removed conifers from over 140 aspen stands in the Lassen National Forest. Site size ranged from one to 99 acres. They removed the majority of the canopy cover, leaving only the legacy conifers that were alive before widespread fire suppression policies.

Point Blue began annual spring bird and vegetation surveys in 2004 on both treated and untreated aspen stands, surveying 180 different sites during the nine-year study. The scientists selected two groups of focal bird species as the primary indicators of ecological change, 10 species associated with aspen habitat and six species for conifer habitat.

Within a few years, the aspen stands teemed with focal bird species during the breeding season, including mountain bluebirds, tree swallows, and hairy woodpeckers, and the trees showed overall revived health.

"The bird density was so high. There were so many singing that we had trouble writing them all down," says Brent Campos, Point Blue's northern Sierra project leader and lead author of the study. "Birds are good indicators of an aspen stand's health and we were surprised by the dramatic and quick response."

The bird numbers published in the article are significant when considering multiple species over thousands of acres. For example, the numbers of red-breasted sapsuckers more than tripled from an average of .84 birds per acre before treatment to 2.85 birds per acre on restored sites. Multiply that by the 1,000 or more acres the Forest Service has now restored Sierra-wide and that means habitat for nearly 2,000 more red-breasted sapsuckers.

Some of the bird species associated with conifer habitat decreased in restored sites. According to Burnett, these species, such as golden-crowned kinglet and red-breasted nuthatch, are among some of the most common bird species occupying Sierra forest habitat.

"These aspen stands were being swallowed up by the conifer sea around them," Burnett says. "Our study suggests aggressive mechanical removal of conifers can restore aspen stands and benefit birds and ecosystem health. I'd like to see land managers increase the pace and scale of aspen rehabilitation throughout the Sierra Nevada."

Link to article: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rec.12114/abstract

Study citation: Campos, B. R. and Burnett, R. D. 2014. Avian Response to Mechanical Aspen Restoration in Sierra Nevada Coniferous Forest. Restoration Ecology, Vol. 22, No. 5, pp. 616-624.

About Point Blue Conservation Science:

Our mission is to advance the conservation of birds, other wildlife and ecosystems through science, partnerships and outreach. Our 140 scientists, along with educators and restoration specialists, work to reduce the impacts of habitat loss, climate change and other environmental threats while promoting nature-based solutions for wildlife and people, on land and at sea. Visit Point Blue at http://www.pointblue.org

Melissa Pitkin, Outreach Director, (831) 423-8202, mpitkin@pointblue.org

Ryan Burnett, Sierra Nevada Group Director, (530) 258-2869, rburnett@pointblue.org

Melissa Pitkin | EurekAlert!

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>