Principal Investigator: Jake Verschuyl, PhD, NCASI / Director of Forestry Research, Western U.S. & B.C.

Collaborator: Oregon State University

Supported by: Western Trade Association Member Companies

Project Summary: Woodpeckers respond to large-scale disturbance and forest management activities, making them a key group for detecting rapid changes to forest ecosystem health. Members of this group, especially the Black-backed Woodpecker (BBWO), are often mentioned in the ongoing debate between actively managing forests against fire and allowing large-scale fires to burn. This is a three-year study to quantify habitat-specific demographic rates of the BBWO in areas where it uses both burned and unburned forest for nesting. This includes monitoring nests using a ground-based video inspection system, conducting nest vegetation surveys to quantify habitat structure around each nest, and attaching a small VHF telemetry tag to 1-2 nestlings/nest to assess post-fledging survival and movement.

Project Reports:
Project Summary Report May 2021
*This report presents preliminary results and does not represent final conclusions.

Project Papers:
Is green the new black? Black-backed Woodpecker vital rates do not differ between unburned and burned forests within a pyrodiverse landscape – authored by Mark E. Kerstens and James W. Rivers, Department of Forest Engineering, Resources, and Management, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon

Contact Jake Verschuyl at