Habitat Tree Frequently Asked Questions

Definition – What is a Habitat Tree?

A Habitat Tree is a tree that has been retained by mitigating hazards in such a way that is productive for wildlife and encourages or mimics the naturally occurring decay process found in old growth forests. Also known as wildlife tree, wildlife special-use tree, veteran tree, old growth tree, etc.

Purpose – Why do we want Habitat Trees?

As urban environments expand, natural habitats become limited. Habitat Trees promote insect and pollinator habitat, bird shelters, aid in providing food sources for wildlife, and decrease bird’s risk of predation.

Benefits – What are the benefits of Habitat Trees?

· Ecotourism

· Environmental monitoring – species diversity acts as an indicator of urban environmental health

· Pest management – natural pest deterrent, reduces use of pesticides

· Connection to nature – environmental stewardship, local habitat preservation, sustainable practices, conscientious urban planning and design, educational tool

· Waste decomposition

· Bird songs can improve mood

· Boost property values

· Support clean water

· Seed dispersal & pollination – fosters native flora growth, increases ecosystem stability

Examples – Who will Habitat Trees Help?

· Tall Nesters/Hunters: Cooper’s Hawk, Great-horned Owl

· Low Nesters: Wood Duck, House Wren

· Wide Range Nesters: Black-capped Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Tree Swallow

Creating Habitat Trees

· Tree risk assessment and treatment is the first step

· Choosing a level of implementation; this is based on expertise, needed equipment, and specific tree characteristics

o Passive – awareness and preservation of preexisting habitat

o Intermediate – artificial methods to encourage habitat creation using a chainsaw and tree climbing gear

o Involved – artificial methods to encourage habitat creation using additional tools and hardware (i.e. drills, habitat boxes, etc.)

Additional Resources:

Repurposing Hazard for Habitat

Nesting and Overwintering