Forest Structure and Habitat
Most ecologists and environmentalists agree that disturbances and a diversity of forest age-classes ranging from recently disturbed to mature, are important to maintain the diverse flora and fauna native to deciduous forests of the Central Hardwood Region.
Some species require mature forest features such as a continuous tree canopy, snags, abundant down and dead wood, and thick leaf litter, whereas others require open conditions.
Disturbances across the landscape and through time create habitat heterogeneity and affect the spatial and temporal availability of food resources in a forest matrix.
Different disturbances such as fire, wind, timber harvest, or others shape the size, structure, and distribution of both young and mature habitat patches, which may be key factors for maintaining populations of wildlife species that depend on them.
Scientists within the Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management Research Work Unit 4157, along with many collaborators and partners, study how changes to habitat structure resulting from different disturbance types affects wildlife communities and species.
Forest Structure and Habitat Research Topics: