Wildlife Habitat Conditions in Mature Pine Hardwood Stands in the Ouachita/Ozark National Forests
A long-term, stand-level, interdisciplinsry research and demonstration project was initiated on the Ouachia (ONF) and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests in Arkansas in 1990 to compare the impacts of alternative reproduction cutting methods on commodity and noncommodity forest resources including wildlife habitat and populations. Habitat masurement procedures and pretreatment habitat conditions for 20 of the 52 stands included in this study are summaraizedhere. The wildlife component of this study consists of a completely randomized block design involving four physiographic zones (blocks), each containing one replication of five treatments (four future treatments and an untreated, late-rotation control). Of the 69 habitat parameters analyzed to date, 11 differed significantly (P < O.05) by physiographic zone, but only 1 differed by future treatement. From a wildlife standpoint, these late-rotation stands primarily consisted of south-facing, relatively xeric sites characterized by high canopy coverage, an abundance of mostly small hardwoods, very limited winter herbage and browse supplies, moderate snag abundance, and limited amounts of downwood. Most of the hardwoods are too small to produce much mast, and densities of the larger (235 cm in dbh.) snags are insufficient to accommodate high populations of several of the larger resident cavity-dependent wildlife species. Snags and down logs of recent origin were generally scarce. Recent amendment of the USDA Foreat Service ONF Forest Plan should help to ameliorate these conditions.