This study analyzed the effects of various forest management scenarios on habitats of the black stork, which has very specific requirements: it needs extensive forest complexes with a significant proportion of old trees for nesting, and bodies of water for foraging. The relationship between different forest management scenarios and the presence of black storks was examined in a large forest complex (9641 ha of managed stands) surrounded by wetland areas. A simulation of forest development under three management regimes was performed for eighteen 10-year periods. Management scenarios differed in terms of the species composition of stands, rotation age, retention tree areas, and silvicultural treatments. The basic scenario was characterized by a species composition consistent with natural-type stands, but with higher proportions of Scots pine and oak, with rotation ages of 100 and 140 years, respectively, managed by the shelterwood system. The productive scenario featured monospecific stands with a dominance of Scots pine with a rotation age of 90 years, harvested by clearcutting. Finally, the long rotation scenario introduced mixed tree stands with a long rotation age (110 and 180 years for Scots pine and oak, respectively). As compared to the basic scenario, the total harvest volume was greater by 14.6% in the productive scenario and smaller by 16.2% in the long rotation scenario. The availability of habitats for black stork changed as a result of different species compositions and age structures of tree stands. A considerable decrease in rotation age (below 100 years) and the elimination of oak trees from stands in the productive scenario adversely affected potential habitats for black stork. On the other hand, the factors favorable to black stork habitats were a long rotation age, the presence of oak in stands, the application of shelterwood cutting, and the use of retention trees in the long rotation scenario. This scenario would probably also benefit other bird species legally protected under the European Union’s Birds Directive.
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