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Worldwide recognition for large trees

A leading researcher is calling for better recognition of the role of large trees in the world conservation. His latest study shows that their loss to hole nesting birds cannot be mitigated by putting nest boxes on smaller trees.

Professor David Lindenmayer has been demonstrating for a long time that large trees support unique habitat structures (e.g. hollows) that form over centuries and cannot be provided by small trees. He has also shown that large trees are also declining in human-modified landscapes worldwide.

Some people have been thinking that by adding nest boxes to smaller trees it would mimic natural hollows and provide a short term if not long term benefit for wildlife. Interestingly his research indicates a significant increase in hollow-nesting bird abundance and richness at large trees after nest box additions.

However, the same response was not observed at medium, small, or control trees. His results suggest that adding nest boxes to smaller-sized trees may not attract hollow-nesting birds.

Therefore, nest box management strategies may require re-evaluation as it is often assumed that hollow supplementation will attract hollow-using fauna and sufficiently ameliorate the loss of large, hollow-bearing trees. He is a very strong advocate that protection and retention of large tree is crucial and should be prioritized.

You can read the abstract to his study on the Wiley.