Longleaf pines used for cavities by red-cockaded woodpeckers

  • Authors: Hooper, Robert G.
  • Publication Year: 1988
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: The Journal of Wildlife Management
  • DOI: 10.2307/3801579

Abstract

I studied characteristics and availability of young (≤80 yr old) and old (≥100 yr old) longleaf pines (Pinus palustris) used and not used for cavities by red-cockaded woodpeckers (Picoides borealis), and the associated population densities of red-cockaded woodpeckers in Osceola and Ocala national forests (NF) in Florida, and in Francis Marion NF in South Carolina. In Francis Marion NF old noncavity trees were common (17/ha); 6% of the cavity trees were young; decayed heartwood was frequent in old (97%) and young (86%) cavity trees (P = 0.299), but rare in young noncavity trees (9%); and population density was high (8.3 colonies/1,000 ha). In Osceola and Ocala NF, respectively, old noncavity trees were rare (<1/ha); 65 and 76% of the cavity trees were young; decayed heartwood was frequent in old cavity trees (80 and 90%), but less so in young cavity trees (27 and 32%) (P ≤ 0.007); young cavity trees had faster growth rates than young noncavity trees (P ≤ 0.001); and population densities were low (1.7 and 1.4 colonies/1,000 ha). Red-cockaded woodpeckers may have been using the easiest trees to excavate. The order of preference appeared to be trees with decayed heartwood and then fast-growing trees with sound heartwood. Because decay increases with tree age and decayed trees are the most preferred, older trees apparently provide red-cockaded woodpeckers with more and better opportunities for cavity excavation than younger trees. Results support past recommendations of providing longleaf pines >95 years old to red-cockaded woodpeckers for cavity excavation.

  • Citation: Hooper, Robert G. 1988. Longleaf pines used for cavities by red-cockaded woodpeckers. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 52(3): 392-. https://doi.org/10.2307/3801579.
  • Keywords: Pine trees, Tree cavities, Heartwood, Woodpeckers, Tree age, Age structure, National forests, Excavations, Population density
  • Posted Date: March 12, 2020
  • Modified Date: March 17, 2020
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.