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Effect of selection logging on Yellow-bellied Sapsucker sap-feeding habits in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

Mancuso, Kristen, Nol, Erica, Burke, Dawn, Elliott, Ken
Canadian journal of forest research = 2014 v.44 no.10 pp. 1236-1243
Acer saccharum subsp. saccharum, Betula alleghaniensis, foraging, habitats, hardwood forests, logging, nests, sap, stand characteristics, trees, woodpeckers, Ontario
The sap-feeding behaviour of a keystone woodpecker species, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius (Linnaeus, 1766)), was compared between high-quality uncut stands and stands harvested with various forms of selection logging in the hardwood forests of Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario. We examined (i) the average distances that sapsuckers travelled from their nest tree to sapwell trees, (ii) the characteristics of active sapwell trees compared with overall stand characteristics, and (iii) the reuse of sapwell trees after 1 or 2 years. We found that sapsuckers travelled approximately the same average distance from their nests to sapwell trees, regardless of logging treatment. The characteristics of sapwell trees were overall unaffected by logging: unhealthy trees, sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marshall), and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britton) were used at similar proportions to their stand-level availability in reference and harvested stands. Trees with old sapwells and large-diameter trees were used significantly more than their stand-level availability; thus the retention of these trees during tree-marking procedures may preserve sap foraging habitat. The reuse of sapwell trees did not vary between treatments, and on average, over half of the sapwell trees showed evidence of reuse the following year.