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Southern Forests: a Journal of Forest Science

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Guidelines for the design and management of artificial raptor perches and nest-tree stands on forestry estates in South Africa: management paper

G Malan, A vN Marais

Abstract


The aim of this paper is to provide timber growers with silvicultural guidelines for the establishment of raptor perches and nest stands on forestry estates. Rodents do extensive damage to young saplings and as an ecologically friendly alternative to rodenticides, we provide guidelines on perch height and densities that can be implemented to facilitate rodent-eating, perch-hunting raptors. For example, if eight, 2-m high, even spaced poles are erected per hectare, the raptors will be able to hunt the entire area. The aim of creating nest stands on forestry estates is to establish 3-6 small (625 m2) designated areas where raptors can breed separately from commercial forestry activities. Guidelines for small, tree-nesting raptors include dense stands (1000 trees / ha) to hide nests from predators, whereas stands for intermediate size raptors must be thinned to 163 trees / ha to allow an increase in trunk diameter that, in turn, allows the trees to support bigger nests. Cultivating large trees for large raptors is problematic as these birds require trees with open branch structures and easy access, features not associated with single-stem, commercial trees. If timber growers adhere to the above recommendations they will be able to combine wildlife and timber management objectives on forestry estates.


Southern African Forestry Journal No.196, 2003: 49-54



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