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Marbled Murrelet Management Area Habitat Monitoring
Marbled Murrelet nesting
The marbled murrelet is a federally-listed seabird that nests on mossy platforms on the limbs of old trees up to 55 miles inland in coastal western North America.  The Oregon Department of Forestry has adopted policies to identify, protect, and maintain suitable nesting habitat on state-owned forestland.  Stands within range of the ocean are surveyed for murrelet presence before any logging activities are allowed.  If murrelet presence in a stand is confirmed, Marbled Murrelet Management Areas are established that govern allowable practices in that area. 
In addition, some districts have been experimenting with management plans to encourage the development of nesting habitat faster than it might occur either naturally or with standard thinning regimes. 
A project to track habitat characteristics in State Forests began during 2005. Since these habitat characteristics develop slowly over time, this is envisioned as a very long-term study. Data will be collected prior to and immediately after harvest, and again every 5-10 years. The project is intended to address:
  1. Are Marbled Murrelet Management Areas effective at protecting and maintaining murrelet nesting habitat in areas where their presence has been confirmed?
  2. Are experimental silvicultural prescriptions effective at enhancing nesting habitat over time?
  3. Do these prescriptions result in other habitat characteristics that reduce the value of these stands as nesting habitat?  For example, do these thinnings increase the desirability of these stands to corvids (crows, ravens and jays – all murrelet predators), and thus increase their relative abundance?
Data collection on the project began in 2006-2007.

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