In Pacific Northwest forests, dead wood works wonders for wildlife. But when there isn’t enough naturally occurring dead wood around, you might need to do some woodworking yourself. Wood duck carefully inspecting a nesting box. Photo by Mark Biser. Snags—standing dead or dying trees—are important forest structures for cavity-dependent birds and small mammals, food sources for woodpeckers and other foragers, and slowly release nutrients into the ecosystem with the help of decomposers. But second and third-growth forests often lack sufficient snags because they were removed during previous intensive forest management, or the few remaining are in advanced stages of decay.
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