Technical Bulletins & Special Reports

Technical Bulletin No. 0958: Biodiversity Response to Stand Structural Features in Southern Pine Forests: A Literature Review

<p align="justify">The conservation of biological diversity is a high priority in managed forests of the southern United States. Forest certification programs require participants to have biodiversity management programs in place supported by up-to-date science and, in some cases, to have guidelines for retention of important stand-level habitat features important to wildlife. To meet this information need, we reviewed the scientific literature for information on relationships between stand-level habitat features and wildlife communities. Within this report, we give definitions and general characteristics of habitat features considered particularly important to wildlife management in southern forests. Because of the prominence of pine plantation management in the southern U.S., particular attention is paid to research performed in southern pine systems. We follow with a comprehensive examination of wildlife relationships to each habitat feature and an analysis of information gaps and research needs. <br /><br />We selected five habitat features for review: coarse woody debris (CWD), snags, den trees, isolated wetlands, and streamside management zones (SMZs). These features have demonstrated potential for impacting diversity, though their contributions in pine systems are not always well-documented. There were indications of other features with potential impact (e.g., fork-topped pines, roads), but there was as yet little evidence of their importance. <br /><br />Coarse woody debris (CWD) is used by a great number of wildlife species; however, few manipulative experiments have been performed in southern pines to determine whether this use is obligatory or facultative. While some species have shown responsiveness to CWD, benefits supplied by pine litter may substantially overlap those supplied by CWD in other forest types.</p>