Masthead banner of Park Science: Integrating Research and Resource Management in the National Parks; ISSN 1090-9966; link to current issue
Volume 26
Number 1
Spring 2009
Arrowhead symbol of the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
Home + About + Author Guidelines + Archive + Subscribe +  
Male Magellenic woodpecker (<em>Campephilus magellanicus</em>) in Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina. (Valeria Ojeda) Biological Sciences
Management strategies for keystone bird species: The Magellanic woodpecker in Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina
By Valeria Ojeda
Published: 4 Sep 2015 (online)  •  14 Sep 2015 (in print)
The ecological roles of the Magellanic woodpecker
Main findings
About the author
+ PDF +

FOREST LOSS AND FRAGMENTATION are affecting the temperate forests of southern South America at an increasing rate (Armesto et al. 1998). A large portion (about 30 million acres [12 million ha]) of these Nothofagus species–dominated forests includes several national parks in Chile and Argentina (fig. 1, below). Most of these protected areas lack management plans or have old plans under reevaluation in light of new biological information and theoretical framework changes, as focus shifts from single-species management to ecosystem management. For this task, resource managers need information on the biology of species that (1) are threatened, (2) are indicators of particular forest conditions, (3) are highly appealing (“flagship”), (4) generate key habitat structures or resources (“keystone”), or (5) require large territories such that their protection ensures the preservation of many other organisms (“umbrella”).

Female Magellanic woodpecker

David Tatin

Photo showing mountain forest habitat of the Magellanic woodpecker.

Valeria Ojeda

Figure 1. Magellanic woodpeckers (top) rely heavily on Nothofagus, or southern beech, forests of southern Chile and Argentina (above), making little use of tree species in other genera. Two Nothofagus species are dominant in Nahuel Huapi National Park: N. dobeyi, a large, evergreen form found in wetter areas and valleys that grows to a height of 148 ft (45 m); and the deciduous N. pumilio, which adopts a shrub form at upper tree line, but attains heights of 100 ft (30 m) on moderate slopes.

Some species display several of these characteristics, and knowledge of such species is of major importance in park planning and management. The Magellanic woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) represents a good model species to demonstrate the role of ecosystem management in park planning. My dissertation research (2000–2006) was based at Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina (fig. 2), but applicable to forest management within and adjacent to preserves in northwestern Patagonia and elsewhere.

“[Its] role as a keystone species in creating cavity habitat for other species was suspected....but the most basic information on its natural history was lacking.”

Return to top

This page updated:  9 July 2009

Page 1 of 8 • Next +
From the Guest Editor(s)
In This Issue
Information Crossfile
Book Reviews
Masthead Information
The Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program: A legacy of science for national parks
Science for parks / parks for science: Conservation-based research in national parks
The rock and ice problem in national parks: An opportunity for monitoring climate change impacts
1,000 feet above a coral reef: A seascape approach to designing marine protected areas
  Management strategies for keystone bird species: The Magellanic woodpecker in Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina
Climate change and water supply in western national parks
Mercury in snow at Acadia National Park reveals watershed dynamics
Organic pollutant distribution in Canadian mountain parks
Building an NPS training program in interpretation through distance learning
Musical instruments in the pre-Hispanic Southwest
Societal dynamics in grizzly bear conservation: Vulnerabilities of the ecosystem-based management approach
Linking wildlife populations with ecosystem change: State-of-the-art satellite ecology for national-park science
Whale sound recording technology as a tool for assessing the effects of boat noise in a Brazilian marine park
Related Publications + Explore Nature + + Privacy + Disclaimer + Contact Editor
Web Site Last Updated: 16 September 2015