Complex early seral forests (CESFs or Snag Forests) are created by high-intensity fire or bark beetles. They occur when most of the live trees in a stand are killed, leaving behind an area of dead trees (called snags) and a carpet of downed logs, flowers, shrubs, and small saplings. Many people believe fire and bark beetles "destroy" forests, but in fact they create a new and different kind of forest which is critical habitat for a variety of species, from woodpeckers to bluebirds to bats because they offer an abundance of food and shelter. Despite the importance of Snag Forests, there is currently no inventory of these habitats in the Sierra Nevada, and this vegetation type is not recognized in any habitat classification system. Below is a new white paper spearheaded by Dr. Dominick DellaSala of the Geos Institute, and co-authored by Wild Nature Institute's Monica Bond and other colleagues, that calls for a full inventory of Snag Forests and regulatory protections for these habitats during upcoming forest management planning in the Sierra Nevada, to ensure a future for the many different plants and animals that depend upon them.
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