You Can Help!
How We All Can Help Wildlife
Young forest is an important habitat for wildlife. It’s also ephemeral: It lasts for a relatively short time span, often less than 20 years. Conservationists, habitat managers, and landowners can all work together to keep making and renewing this type of cover for wildlife, now and in the future.
Here are some ways you can help:
- Support habitat projects on public and private lands – projects that often yield jobs, revenue, and sustainable, locally produced timber products along with enhanced opportunities for birdwatching, hunting, and viewing wildlife.
- Become a well-informed advocate for the many species of wildlife that use young forest by regularly visiting this website as well as www.newenglandcottontail.org and www.timberdoodle.org.
- Check out some prime habitat. Visit a young forest project at a wildlife management area, federal refuge, or land trust property in your state to see what young forest looks like and enjoy viewing the wildlife that thrive in such settings.
- If you own land, create some young forest and shrub thickets. Allow an old field to fill in with shrubs. Harvest timber in a wooded area and let it grow back naturally (consider using the 5-5-5 Technique when planning which areas of your woods should be in a young growth stage). Depending on where they're located, even small habitat patches can be valuable to both rare and common wildlife.
- Maintain shrub fields by cutting out invading trees and mowing or brush-hogging shrubs every five to 15 years so they'll grow back as healthy dense habitat. Without natural disturbances or management by humans, most shrubland will gradually become forest, lacking the low vegetation that offers the best food and cover to wildlife.
- Conserve your land. Minimizing future habitat loss will help local wildlife. Place a conservation easement on your land to ensure that it will remain "open space" and never be developed. (You can still conduct habitat management on conserved land.)
- Volunteer for your town select board or conservation commission, or join a land trust, and propose and support habitat projects on municipal or land-trust holdings.
Learn more about how to make young forest by consulting the Young Forest Guide published by the Wildlife Management Institute.