Snags, standing dead wood, are biological legacies that play an important role in forest ecosystems. Snags provide thermal cover, hiding cover, foraging sites, and unique microhabitats for wildlife. Wildlife known to be dependent on snag microhabitats include birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish. Snags also aid nutrient cycling processes such as within the nitrogen and carbon cycle. This study provided a baseline analysis of snag resources at Taylor Fork Ecological Area (TFEA) in Madison County, KY. Transects were used to census the snags across this 28 ha tract of land. Data collected included diameter at breast height, total height, decay class, number of limbs ≥5 cm, number of cavities ≥10 cm, as well as percent bark remaining, proximity to water, basal area, and canopy cover. Data were then summarized to determine the persistence and viability of snags as a wildlife resource. The snags population at TFEA is in its early stages of maturity. Most snags were of decay class 2. The snag population at TFEA is following the natural pattern of maturity. Snags create a unique micro habitat for wildlife; as such the ecological values of snags greatly exceeds any missed economic value. Snags are vital resources and good indicators of overall forest health.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2016


Luke E. Dodd

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Biological Sciences