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Keywords:

  • habitat selection;
  • islands;
  • logging;
  • modelling;
  • old growth;
  • rotation period

In harvested forests, the bird community is largely determined by stand structure, which itself is determined by forestry practices. This study aimed to identify habitat variables determining the presence of Corsican Nuthatch Sitta whiteheadi – a threatened island endemic – in harvested Corsican Pine Pinus nigra laricio woods, with the aim of mitigating the impact of timber harvest on the bird. Comparison of occupied and unoccupied plots showed that this bird is found mostly in pure Corsican Pine stands, and is absent when more than 50% of trees are not this species. Nests were built in decaying pine snags between 20 and 100 cm diameter at breast height (dbh), but birds avoided stands with live pines < 70 cm dbh, and selected stands with pines > 80 cm dbh. Conservation of Corsican Nuthatch therefore depends on maintaining harvest rotations of more than 200 years, reducing the size of felling coupes in clear-cutting systems or, preferably, practising selective cutting, maintaining a sufficient density of old trees and snags, and checking the encroachment of other tree species into Corsican Pine stands.