Compare and contrast how likely the regeneration methods will be in providing habitat for your species at 20 and 100 years post-harvest.

Step 1. Select two focal species and research their natural history and habitat requirements from the Oregon coastal region.

The scenario for this assignment is that you have are a forest ecologist working with a private timber company and you have been tasked with evaluating how planned timber harvests may influence populations of terrestrial vertebrates. To do this, first select two focal species – 1 bird and 1 mammal – that are found in conifer forests of the Pacific Northwest; birds and mammals are required for this assignment because most other groups have inadequate information available for completing this assignment. If you are not sure about which species to choose, one good resource is the book Wildlife-habitat relationships in Oregon and Washington by Johnson and O’Neil; it can be downloaded free as PDF here (Links to an external site.).

After you have selected your two focal species, record their common name, scientific name, and a select a photo for inclusion with your assignment (with credit given to the photographer). Next, choose a location in Oregon that is within the geographic range for each species and determine the forest type that would be your selected location based on this map (Links to an external site.). Then collate the following information for both species:

Description of the annual cycle
Summary of life history traits
Key habitat elements needed for population persistence
Description of spatial scale of habitat use
The seral stage(s) of forests required
This information should be obtained from scientific literature (i.e., peer-refereed journal articles) and/or peer-reviewed databases (e.g., Birds of the World) and summarized as a well-crafted summary of approximately 400 words (~200 words per species).

Step 2. Consider how different silvicultural systems may influence your focal species

Once you have obtained background information on your species, the next step is to consider how undertaking two common regeneration methods may influence populations of your focal species. For both species, you will want to research how the species are impacted by both even-aged management (i.e., clearcut harvest) and uneven-aged management practices (i.e., group selection harvest). Your goal is to find scientific literature on your focal species, or on similar species that could be expected to have a similar response. For example, there may not be information about how herbicide spraying influences Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) reproduction, but you could use information obtained on how the White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) responds to herbicide application as a proxy.

To structure your review regarding how each species interacts with silvicultural treatments, make sure to address the following questions. In total, your responses to these questions should total approximately 800 words. Please number your responses.

Compare and contrast how likely the regeneration methods will be in providing habitat for your species at 20 and 100 years post-harvest. Be specific in your description of how these different regeneration methods are expected to influence stand-scale structure over time. For example, what does the forest look like 20/100 years after each silvicultural method? Are critical habitat elements present or absent for each focal species?

Describe the extent to which management actions that often accompany harvest (e.g., herbicide spraying, snag creation) will impact your focal species either positively, negatively, or with a neutral effect.

Provide an overview of the historical disturbance regime for the location you selected, and describe the extent to which the two regeneration methods emulate that natural disturbance for each focal species. Be sure to include at least two components of the historical disturbance regime.

Describe how populations of your focal species are expected to respond over time if the landscape moves from having both of the two regeneration methods in equal abundance to one dominated by even-aged management with short harvest rotations.

Given the projections of future climate change in Oregon (download the Oregon Climate Report here (Links to an external site.)), speculate about how your focal species may be impacted by an interaction between changing climate and the regeneration methods being considered. For example, would you expect climate change to amplify the effects of clearcut harvest on your species? Why or why not?

Step 3. Carefully edit and review your work before turning it in

Be sure that your submission is well-written and demonstrates your ability to succinctly summarize your literature search (~400 words of well-crafted text) and consider questions about how your focal species may be influenced by silvicultural treatments relative to their ecology, life history, and habitat requirements (~800 words). This includes using a minimum of 5 sources located in the scientific literature (i.e., peer-refereed journal articles), in addition to editing your work to make sure it is grammatically correct and lacks spelling errors.