Interior ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests of the Pacific Northwest have changed dramatically since the time of European settlement. As a result of decades of fire suppression and timber management that focused on selective removal of large-diameter trees, ponderosa pine forests today have high densities of small diameter trees and low densities of large diameter trees and snags, as well as an encroachment of shade tolerant tree species.
Woodpeckers are considered keystone species because of their broad effects on other species. In nesting and foraging, woodpeckers create cavities and excavations that other species use, they aid in controlling forest insects, and they may help in dispersing spores of fungi that are agents of decay. Despite the importance of woodpeckers to forested ecosystems, few studies have examined metrics of woodpecker demography such as reproductive success or nest survival or have investigated the associations of habitat characteristics with these or related metrics.