Effects of disturbance on forest carnivores of conservation concern in Eastern Oregon and Washington
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The effects on forest carnivores of forest insects, tree diseases, wildfire, and management strategies designed to improve forest health (e.g., thinning, salvage operations, prescribed burns, and road removal) are discussed. Forest carnivores of conservation concern in eastern Oregon and Washington, USA include the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis), wolverine (Gulo gulo), and fisher (Martes pennanti). All three species depend to some degree on forest structures, stands, and landscapes created by insects, disease, and fire. Wildfire and insect outbreaks maintain a mosaic of structural stages across the landscape that are used by lynx. Thinning of dense lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) stands that result largely from wildfire and insect outbreaks is detrimental to snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus), which are the primary prey of lynx. Fishers use large stands of mature forest and snags, hollow live trees, logs, stumps, witches-brooms, and other structures for rest and den sites. Salvage harvesting, thinning, and conversion from predominantly fir stands to ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa) may adversely affect habitat conditions for fishers. Use of roads is perhaps most detrimental to wolverines because they are easily trapped and avoid humans.