Current issue: 54(2)
Given their importance as a resource for many forest organisms, tree cavities were inventoried in the managed pine forests of north-east Poland, in relation to the: 70–100, 101–130 and >130 year age-classes within the clear-cutting system. The densities at which cavities were present was found to depend on forest age, given that stands 70–100 years old were characterised by an average density of 0.62 trees ha–1, while forests older than 130 years reported 3.28 trees ha–1. Stands aged 70–100 years differed from those aged 130+ in having just 0.27 trees ha–1 of cavity trees, as compared with 2.91 trees ha–1. The total volume of cavity trees in stands up to 100 years old was 0.37 m3 ha–1 on average, as compared with 5.42 m3 ha–1 in stands over 130 years old. The cavities created by woodpeckers constituted 76% of all of those found, and included 53% excavated by great spotted woodpeckers (Dendrocopos major L.) and 23% by black woodpeckers (Dryocopus martius L.) The proportion of cavities excavated by D. major was highest in the youngest age class of stands. There, cavities made by D. martius constituted only 8% of the total, as compared with 31% in the oldest stands. The abundance of cavity trees thus differed along an age gradient, though in any event the availability of cavity trees appears to be too limited to provide for the needs of hole-nesting birds. Forest managers must thus take more account than hitherto of the need to protect cavity trees.