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Bayou-Diversity (17 February 2019) On the morning of December 20, 1987, I was working near the mainline Mississippi River levee in Tensas Parish. Waterfowl hunting season was ongoing, and I was prowling about in search of those who might violate federal laws that protect the long-term well-being of migratory ducks and geese. Before daylight I walked a mile into a swampy, forested area that consisted of oak flats and meandering cypress sloughs. Palmetto blanketed the subtle ridges and drapes of Spanish moss hung motionless in the still, pre-dawn darkness. I squatted down and leaned back against a cedar elm to await the morning chorus. There was no sunrise on this cloudy day; objects jus

Cavity Trees

Bayou-Diversity (10 February 2019) The title of this short essay could be “Holey Trees.” It is not about the spiritual aspects of a forest (i.e. “Holy Trees”) but rather the presence or absence of cavity trees in a forest. In the realm of commercial forestry, trees with holes are undesirable. They take up space where more valuable, sound trees can grow. For that reason cavity trees have been all but eliminated on millions of acres. It’s that money thing. But in southern woodlands, trees with cavities once occurred naturally at varying frequency across the landscape. Cavities form when trees are injured or diseased; animals, especially woodpeckers, excavate holes in living and dead trees


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