Module 3 — Stand level components
of biodiversity
British Columbia
Ministry of Forests
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Module 3, Part B — Wildlife trees — continued
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Module 3


Fungal inoculation

iconWhat else do you know about fungal inoculation?

Inoculation of trees with wood decay fungi to promote heart rot has potential as a useful standing dead tree creation tool. However, fungal pathogens are tree species and area specific. fungal inoculation
Fungal inoculum injected into
a live conifer initiates heart rot

Detailed knowledge of inoculation procedures is required for this technique to be successful (including choice of fungal species and injection parameters and procedures).

MoF regional pathologists should be consulted if this method of treatment is being considered.


Nestboxes and cavity construction


iconWhat else do you know about nestboxes and cavity construction?


Artificial nestboxes can provide nesting structures for a variety of hole-nesting birds. This is especially true for areas with a shortage of natural cavities.

When installing nestboxes, it is essential to place the box in the appropriate habitat suitable for the intended species. This includes nest height (e.g., for predator avoidance) and nest location (e.g., proximity to water for cavity nesting ducks).

Proper nestbox construction is required to ensure use of the box by the intended species. Accurate, species-specific hole size (diameter) and shape (circular, flattened oval) will usually limit use of the box to the intended species.

Cavity starts for feeding, nesting, and roosting can be constructed in trees using a chainsaw (see Figure 12). This requires knowledge of the habitat needs of the species in question (e.g., size, shape and location of nest hole for flying squirrels), and an experienced tree climber/chainsaw operator.


Planting standing dead trees (snags)

iconHave you seen very many artificial standing dead trees in BC forests?
 If so, where?
Elsewhere out of BC?





iconAre there enough wildlife trees habitats created in BC?



iconWhich of the seven strategies for creating wildlife trees have you seen the most of in BC?


Artificial standing dead trees can be planted in the ground with an excavator. By providing some immediate habitat structure, this technique has potential as a habitat enhancement tool on deactivated roadbeds and landings.

Planted standing dead trees provide ready-made hunting perches for raptors and other birds. It is unknown if planted standing dead trees will receive increasing use by wildlife as the surrounding stand greens-up and matures. Additional research is required to determine how widespread its application should be.

  • Larger diameter pieces (generally > 30 cm) with some indication of internal decay should be selected for planted standing dead trees. Trees which do not have heart rot prior to death will not develop this critical WLT attribute (i.e., minimal value).

Planting standing dead trees
"Planting" standing dead trees
  • If available, planted standing dead trees should represent the mix of tree species, found on the block.

  • Planted standing dead trees should be dug into the ground at least 1 m for every 6 m of standing dead tree height (a 12-m standing dead tree should be sunk 2 m into the ground).


iconWhere have you seen blasting of treetops in BC?

  Blasting the tops of trees to create standing dead trees is generally not recommended unless there are no other alternatives.

A candidate tree for blasting would be:

  • Unsafe to top

  • A situation where the establishment of a no-work zone is considered inappropriate

Blasting trees require specialized personnel, equipment, and safety procedures

Stem girdling 

iconDo you agree with this recommendation? If so, what are some other reasons?
If not, why not?

  Stem girdling is not recommended as a wildlife tree creation technique.

Stem girdling results in tree death at the point of girdling. Fungal decay is initiated at this point, resulting in a tree that is prone to breaking off at girdled height (usually a few metres above ground).

Stem girdled trees do not provide long-term wildlife tree habitat, and are often unstable and unsafe for workers to be around.

  next Next: Wildlife tree importance
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Module 3

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