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Lethal owl removal study seeks to determine impacts

A redwood forest with ferns on the ground.
Ideal owl habitat, just outside Fort Bragg.

February 18, 2022 — As conditions in the ecosystem change, environmentalists and land managers grapple with increasingly difficult questions about what it means to be stewards of the forest and its inhabitants. A team of scientists from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is engaged in a study involving the lethal removal of barred owls, which have been out-competing the iconic and endangered northern spotted owls. Barred owls originated in the eastern United States, and they’re larger and much more aggressive than the local birds. They’ve replaced over a dozen pairs of spotted owls in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest, leaving only one known pair.