Comparison of snag densities among regeneration treatments in mixed pine-hardwood forests
Standing dead trees (snags) are an important component of forest ecosystems, providing foraging, nesting, and roosting substrate for a variety of vertebrates. We examined the effects of four forest regeneration treatments on residual snag density and compared those with densities found in unharvested, naturally regenerated forests (controls) during the second, fourth, and sixth year after timber harvest in mixed pine-hardwood forests of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Regeneration treatments were clearcut with snag creation, shelterwood, single-tree selection, and group selection. Density of large snags (greater than or equal to 25.0 cm DBH) differed only during the sixth year after harvest, with shelterwoods having a lower density of large snags (1.0 snags/ha) than the control or group selection stands (4.0 and 4.2 snags/ha, respectively). Density of small snags (10.0-24.9 cm DBH) mirrored residual basal area, with controls and group-selection stands having the greatest snag densities. Creation of snags in clearcuts by injection with herbicides caused initial snag density in these areas to be greater than other treatments, but density in clearcuts declined sharply by 6 years after harvest. In the absence of snag creation, treatments such as shelterwoods that remove most trees may have snag densities below that required to address some management objectives without additional snag creation.