Forests undoubtedly provide crucial habitat necessary for species survival and diversity. The forest canopy and the understory provide food, shelter, and nesting sites in an ecosystem. Management of forests is important and sometimes necessary to better enhance the available habitat to benefit wildlife. For example, logging management is important to preserve enough dead wood to provide habitat for cavity dwellers such as owls, squirrels, raccoons, and many species of nesting birds. These animals make their homes in holes and the rotted out insides of trees, called cavities. Removal of old trees often eliminates important cavities, without which many species have no place to nest or feed.
Students quantify how many homes exist for cavity dwellers in a section of forest. Students learn to establish research plots and use measuring skills to examine relationships be-tween tree size (DBH: Diameter at Breast Height) and the abundance of cavities. Observations of mature trees with cavities should prompt discussion addressing the importance of large, cavity-bearing trees on species that need this habitat.
Supplemental Information and Further Exploration: