Snags - A snag is
a standing dead or dying tree, and a downed log is a log that
is lying on or near the forest floor. Snags, logs, and woody debris
are natural occurrences in mature forests. Trees can be killed by
lightning, storm breakage, fire, disease, insects, or a variety of
Resource managers are becoming more aware of the
importance of snags and rotting, downed logs as wildlife habitat.
Unfortunately, forest practices such as shorter rotations, firewood
removal, timber stand improvement and insect and disease control
efforts have limited the number of snags and downed logs available
for wildlife habitat. Creating and protecting them in the forest is
a simple, low cost habitat improvement that has great benefits for a
wide range of wildlife species.
A continuous supply of snags and downed logs must be
maintained to sustain populations of animals that depend on these
resources. It is important to provide snags of various sizes.
Generally, large snags (> 10" DBH) are more valuable than small
snags because they can be used by a wider variety of species. Some
species, such as black bears, require very large snags. Small clumps
of snags scattered over the landscape are generally best because
they provide both nesting and foraging sites in one convenient
location. A large group of snags usually is not used by more than
one pair of the same species because of territorial behavior, and
single snags scattered over the landscape may not provide enough
nesting and foraging habitat for some species.
Why are Snags and Downed Logs Important?
Wildlife use snags and downed logs for nesting,
roosting, foraging, perching, or territorial displays. Some wildlife
are game animals; others are insectivorous birds that control forest
pests, but all are important components of the forest.