Songbirds like clearcuts?


Yes, they actually do – and so do deer, elk and butterflies. A symposium sponsored by OFRI, OSU, the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement and the Partnership for Forestry Education explored this topic on November 18 in Albany.

Titled Wildlife in Managed Forests: Early Seral Habitat, Songbirds and Managed Forests, the symposium reviewed the relationship between timber harvest, weed control, songbird abundance, insect damage to tree seedlings, moth and butterfly abundance, and deer and elk behavior.

Early seral habitat is the community of vegetation present after disturbances such as clearcut logging or intense wildfire. Early seral habitat is characterized by abundant grasses and shrubs, and numerous small conifer and hardwood trees. This habitat has been found to be very important for migrant songbirds such as the white-crowned sparrow (photo above), who migrate to the tropics for the winter but spend the summer in Oregon, where they nest and raise their young.

The symposium showcased the Intensive Forest Management Study. This study, led by NCASI and OSU in conjunction with forest landowners, examines various levels of weed control in young conifer plantations and seeks to understand how forested landscapes can be managed for biodiversity while sustaining high levels of timber production.

Different types of forest landowners produce early seral habitat by different methods and in differing amounts. The symposium featured presentations representing private, state and federal landowners and the role early seral habitat plays in their management.

Copies of the presentations and the speaker bios and abstracts will soon be available on under the Events tab at the Conferences page (

OFRI is planning our next Wildlife in Managed Forests publication, to be based on the information presented at this symposium. Watch for it and see our other Wildlife in Managed Forests publications at (

So, the next time you visit a young forest plantation, listen for the songbirds who make their home there.

For the forest,
Mike Cloughesy
Director of Forestry    


9755 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 210        
Portland, OR 97225        
Phone: 971-673-2944        
Fax: 971-673-2946

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