Chapter 5: Goshawk & Mature Forest

Goshawk & Mature Forest

Northern Goshawks are year-round but mostly unseen residents of Jackson Hole. They require stands of older aged trees surrounded by an extensive mosaic of mixed coniferous forest to nest successfully. Goshawks are a good indicator species, used as a proxy to determine the health of an ecosystem, for old-growth lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, aspen, and some spruce and fir. Lodgepole pine and Douglas fir are both fire-adapted trees, resilient to certain ranges of fire frequency and intensity.

Goshawk © Credit

In the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, 68% of the Goshawk nesting area is mature timber and it is likely that in the Jackson Hole area, most nesting areas contain more than 50% mature timber. More frequent wildfires could lead to a more homogenized forest ecosystem with less old-growth timber, crucial for Goshawk nesting areas.

At one time, mountain pine beetle outbreaks were curtailed by colder winters and a 1-2 year or more lifecycle. In many locations they have adapted to a shorter one-year life cycle thanks to warmer temperatures.


Conservation Opportunities: Reducing forest fragmentation is vital to protecting goshawks; controlling the spread of human development can go a long way towards protecting these birds and the forests they live in.
Phone: (307) 733-9417
685 S. Cache St. PO Box 2728
Jackson, Wyoming 83001