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STUDY SHOWS OWL POPULATION EXCEEDS PREVIOUS ESTIMATES

 STUDY SHOWS OWL POPULATION EXCEEDS PREVIOUS ESTIMATES
 FORT BRAGG, Calif., Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The population of northern spotted owls on newly surveyed forestlands in Mendocino County, Calif., is significantly greater than previous estimates, according to a joint study by the California Department of Fish & Game and two forest products companies.
 Continued research in the study area since the data was compiled has resulted in even further dramatic increases in the number of owl sites documented, participants said.
 The study was initiated in 1989 by the California Department of Fish & Game, Georgia-Pacific Corp. (NYSE: GP) and Louisiana-Pacific Corp. (NYSE: LPX). It was designed to help the participants better understand the distribution patterns of spotted owls in the study area, which included about 500,000 acres of forestlands managed by Georgia-Pacific, Louisiana-Pacific and the California Department of Forestry in the Jackson State Forest. Company and state biologists attributed the dramatic increase in the number of documented owl sites to the intensified research in the study area and not necessarily to any increase in owl population.
 The three-year cooperative study was conducted in three phases. The first phase was a survey of all owls and their locations in the study area. The second phase looked at pair occupancy, nesting sites and reproductive success. The third phase evaluated habitat where nests are located.
 Prior to the research, the estimated number of northern spotted owls in the study area was based on the documentation of 11 historical sites (spotted owl activity centers). A site can be either a single adult owl or a pair of owls occupying a territory. When the study was completed in August 1991, a total of 198 individual owls had been documented at 103 owl sites -- nearly a 10-fold increase.
 In the 11 months since the study was completed, further research has shown the number of sites has increased by an additional 30 on Georgia- Pacific lands alone. Ted Wooster, environmental services specialist for the California Department of Fish & Game, said similar increases in known sites have been documented throughout Mendocino, Sonoma and Napa counties. Continuing research on private forestlands not yet surveyed is expected to result in the documentation of even more sites, researchers said.
 The second phase of the cooperative study included research on pair occupancy of sites as well as nesting and reproductive status. These data were especially important due to the lack of information regarding reproductive success in managed forests, researchers said. During the three-year cooperative study, 97 nests were located within managed second-growth forests, producing a total of 115 young.
 The reproductive success indicated in the study was consistent with the on-going, long-term spotted owl demography study in the Six Rivers National Forest ("Population Ecology of the Northern Spotted Owl in Northern California") by Humboldt State University biologist Alan Franklin.
 Data collected during the third phase of the study showed that a variety of tree species are chosen as nest trees by spotted owls. Those species include redwood, Douglas fir, tanoak, chinquapin and grand fir. Most nests were found in larger trees and snags in stands at least 35 years old and averaging about 65 years old.
 Since the conclusion of the study, the participants have continued to monitor owl populations on their respective lands. They said the data collected in the research will be critical to efforts to adequately protect owl populations without unnecessary impacts on timber management due to owl-related harvest restrictions.
 -0- 8/18/92
 /CONTACT: David Odgers, 503-248-7335, or Matt Van Vleet, 707-964-5651, both of Georgia-Pacific; Ted Wooster of the California Department of Fish & Game, 707-944-5500; or Christopher Rowney of Louisiana-Pacific, 707-485-8731/
 (GP LPX) CO: California Department of Fish & Game; Georgia-Pacific Corporation;
 Louisiana-Pacific Corporation ST: California IN: PAP SU:


EA-BN -- AT008 -- 0968 08/18/92 12:42 EDT
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Date:Aug 18, 1992
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