Wildlife and People Both Benefit

We All Benefit from Making Young Forest

Many landowners are coming to realize that managing some of their land as young forest can provide economic returns while helping wildlife.

People learn about young forest

People learn about young forest at a workshop in northern Wisconsin./J. Holtz

More and more private conservation organizations are creating and restoring young forest to help a range of different animals while generating benefits as various as increased revenue, clean air and water, and improved conditions for hunting and wildlife watching.

As we enter the 21st century, wildlife and wildlife-related recreation remain extremely popular. According to the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, more than 39 million people took part in wildlife-related activities in the Northeast during 2011. Some 7 million folks went hunting or fishing, and 17.5 million went out specifically to observe wildlife. Those enthusiasts spent $13 billion on hunting and fishing and another $12 billion on watching wildlife. It’s clear that having a diversity of wildlife is good for the economy as well as being good for the animals themselves.

Managing to create young forest can generate jobs and money by employing foresters and loggers and yielding valuable forest products.

Timber harvest yields valuable renewable products

Timber harvests provide valuable products while renewing young forest for wildlife./J. Oehler

When carefully planned and carried out, timber harvests set the stage for renewing and growing wildlife habitat while supporting local economies through generating products such as sawlogs for house construction and making furniture, wood chips for biomass power generation, and firewood for heating our homes. It makes sense to obtain such products from a renewable source – our thoughtfully managed woodlands – rather than paying for artificial substitutes that often are based on petroleum. Preserving and enhancing shrublands is also important. Shrublands often exist around swampy wetland areas; protecting and renewing such habitats translates into better flood control and water quality.

And wildlife are the big beneficiaries. Conserving species before they become threatened or endangered is a smart investment, because it reduces future regulatory burdens and expenses tied to trying to save creatures in imminent danger of going extinct. Also, it’s our responsibility to manage the land so that our native wildlife can continue to thrive – both for the wildlife’s sake and to improve the quality of life for ourselves and generations to come.

Learn more about making habitat from this 28-page Young Forest Guide published by the Wildlife Management Institute.