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Catalog of Long Term Research Conducted by the Northeastern Research Station

Catalog #70

Quabbin Cavity Nesters
To study the response of cavity-nesting birds to thinning in Massachusetts oak stands.
All plots are located on Quabbin Reservation in Franklin and Hampshire Counties, MA. where a FS research permit is renewed annually. Land is part of Boston's municipal water supply managed by Met. District Commission. Stands dominated by pole- and sawtimber-sized trees occupy 89% of the area. the remainder being stands of saplings, open fields, and wetlands. Oak types dominate the white pine-northern red oak-red maple forest land (36%); white pine(18%); pine(10%).
Overstory: Trees >2.5 cm at d.b.h. were sampled using 30 circular 0.025-ha plots in 8 (4 thinned and 4 unthinned) stands. 
Bird census: One 400-1220m long transect was located >100 m from the edge of each stand. 8 runs in 1987; 10 in 1988.
Of the 8 stands, 4 were thinned and 4 were unthinned.
2 observers conducted bird census when there was no precipitation and wind speed was <17mph. Each observer surveyed 2 stands per day between 0530 and 0930 hours. Each of the 8 stands was observed before beginning the next set. Cavities were located from the ground using binoculars.
Overstory tree species named by 3-digit Forest Service code, d.b.h. (to nearest 0.1 cm), tree class, cavity function, cavity status, species using cavity, cavity size, cavity location. 
Saplings (>2.5 cm at d.b.h.) were classified as live or dead.: Dec 1985-June 1988. 
Bird surveys: April-May/1987, 1988. 
Percent herbaceous cover by species: 1988, 1991. 
Mammal count by species: 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992. 
Dependent variables: Tree and shrub stem densities, basal area, and average d.b.h. were calculated for each stand.
Ranges of each variable are visually checked line-by-line on hardcopies of every data set entered as a computer file. Temporary employees are always trained in the field by professionals.
Raw data are in ASCII (sys.dat) files in dBASE III. All cleaned raw data are on floppies and some on hard drive as permanent data files (pdf). Hardcopies of all raw data are kept in file cabinets. Analyses are generated in dBASE and sometimes SAS.
Studies of Ecosystem Processes
Welsh, C.J.E.; Healy, W.M.; DeGraaf, R.M. 1992. Cavity-nesting bird abundance in thinning verses unthinned Massachusetts oak stands. N. J. Appl. For. 9(1): 6-9. 
William Healy, USDA Forest Service, Holdsworth Hall, University of Massachusetts, P.O. Box 34230, Amherst MA 01003. (413) 545-0357



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