NEST finds 17 red tree vole nests in unit 40 of the Green Mountain timber sale!
NEST has found 17 red tree vole nests in unit 40 of the Green Mountain project (timber sale). 3 of these nests were nests that the contract climbers didn’t find in their trees (or the tree vole recolonized the tree after they had climbed it because they had only found “inactive” nests in the tree and we found fresh green resin ducts and cuttings). Pictured above is a nest in a huge old growth remnant tree that the ground surveyors and contract climbers missed. This is the map of unit 40. There are 17 circles representing 17 RTV nests located by NEST volunteers. Each circle represents a 150′ radius around the tree, a minimum average tree length radius around the tree. The red circles are trees we believe to definitely contain active red tree vole nests. The yellow circles are inactives, and the pink are trees that could be labeled either way depending on the biologists subjective judgment of whether or not the resin ducts in those particular nests are “green” enough to be labeled active. There are potentially two buffers: one containing 15 or 11 nests, and another buffer containing 1 nest. There could be one big buffer compromising the whole unit, but if they want to maximize timber output and follow the bare minimum of the management guidelines then they would draw 2. Following the management guidelines the everything behind the black lines should be buffered from any ground disturbing activity. The only discrepancy would be the 4 nests inactive nests in the southwest corner of the unit. They wouldn’t have to be included in a buffer because, technically, they are too far from an active tree vole nest (according to the management guidelines any inactive that is 100m from an active nest is to be included in the habitat buffer). If the biologist is not looking to protect these 4 inactives, then the brown line diverging from the black line would indicate the buffer zone. The buffer with one nest tree will most likely have its buffer drawn outside of the unit (and across the road) in a forest that looks like it must have been thinned, if that forest is still considered “suitable habitat”. If not then they would have to completely buffer out unit 40. At any rate, it looks like even given the situation of the minimum amount of buffers provided for, there is about a 15 to18 acre reduction in unit 40, which is about 25 acres. Also of interest in unit 40 is the spotted owl seen in the photo. He/she spent two days with the NEST surveyors in unit 40, basically hanging out while we climbed trees. Still to come is the results for unit 41, about a 10 acre unit. We have already found 4 red tree vole nests, 3 of which are active.