Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Indiana University of Pennsylvania is part of the state’s System of Higher Education. IUP is committed to building the technical capacity to develop and implement conservation plans that benefit young forest wildlife. Jeff Larkin is a professor of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at IUP, as well as the Forest Bird Habitat Coordinator for the American Bird Conservancy. He oversees a team of conservation planners and foresters based in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service field offices. Working in Pennsylvania, he and other members of the Pennsylvania Young Forest Council developed a strategy of identifying forested parcels where key habitat could be created. Says Larkin, “It’s not about young forests versus old forests, rather it’s about working with partners to create and maintain structurally diverse forested landscapes. The more field research and monitoring of forest wildlife we complete, the more we realize that many species use a suite of forest age classes to nest, forage, and rear young. It’s very rewarding to be involved with the conservation process from conducting research that leads to science-based management guidelines, to securing funding needed to implement those guidelines, and to monitoring the response of woodcock, golden-winged warblers, and associated wildlife to habitat management.” Larkin’s habitat creation model for golden-winged warblers has worked so well in Pennsylvania – with over 10,000 acres of young forest created from 2012 to 2014 – that it’s now being applied in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Maryland as well.