Canada: Timber industry science is great if you want to maximize species extinction

The American Three-toed Woodpecker – Picoides dorsalis are widely
considered barometers of the health of old-growth conifer forests in
North America, due largely to the species’ apparent dependence on
mature and old-growth conifer forests. However, because of their low
abundance, habitat choice and generally quiet behavior, it is seen
only infrequently and has received little attention from researchers.

In Québec’s black spruce-diminated forests, habitat loss due to timber
harvesting may often be permanent as Three-toed Woodpeckers are
restricted to forests older than scheduled cutting rotations. In
Finland, Three-toed Woodpecker density was significantly correlated
with the proportion of forest in nature reserves. Areas with more than
100 yr old, large old-growth tracts, the species had not declined, but
in smaller old-growth forests, isolated as a result of logging, the
species had declined or disappeared. Forestry practices such as fire
suppression, salvage logging (the removal of burned trees) and
suppression logging (the cutting of insect infested trees), remove
trees on which this species depends. Additionally, the alteration of
natural fire intensity, or the replacement of ‘cool’ understory fires
to intense stands, contributes to the decline. Historically, forested
areas in the northern Rocky Mountains experienced large, intense fires
every fifty to one hundred years. No more. Three-toed Woodpeckers seem
very tolerant of humans, so disturbance by people is an unlikely
factor to declining populations of this bird.

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