Habitat Projects in New England

Weyerhaeuser Company, Northern Maine

Timber Company Committed to Woodcock, Young Forest, and People

When Henning Stabins was a boy, he lived on Cape Cod near a cranberry bog. “I used to get a thrill from going outside at dusk in the spring and listening to the woodcock singing near the bog, and watching their mating flights,” he says. Now a biologist for Weyerhaeuser, a large timber company with extensive holdings in North America, Stabins has maintained his affection for American woodcock and developed considerable skills as a birder, naturalist, and wildlife scientist.

Avalonia Land Conservancy, Southeastern Connecticut

The Avalonia Land Conservancy holds more than 3,200 acres in eight towns in southeastern Connecticut, most of them in the Ledyard-Coastal Focus Area for New England cottontail restoration. In 2011, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requested that the conservancy consider making young forest to help cottontails on two of their parcels.

Boyd Woods Audubon Sanctuary, Western Connecticut

Bringing Back Birdsong and Cottontails

In 1995, an heir of Margery Boyd gave the Litchfield Hills Audubon Society (LHAS) a beautiful 102-acre tract a mile and a half south of the town of Litchfield in western Connecticut. The property, Twin Brook Farm, was graced with meadows, thickets, vernal ponds, rock outcroppings, and woods – plenty of woods. LHAS designated the property the Boyd Woods Audubon Sanctuary. One of three LHAS sanctuaries, it is now a popular destination for hikers and wildlife-watchers.

Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area, Rhode Island

Wildlife Follow Corridors Between Habitats

Powerlines transmit much-needed electricity, and they can also serve a completely different function: provide movement corridors for wildlife. That’s what’s happening on a right-of-way that bisects 3,745-acre Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area in southern Rhode Island.

South Mashpee Pine Barrens, Cape Cod

Restoring Pine Barrens Habitat for Wildlife

The goal: Restore a neglected pine barrens on Upper Cape Cod to a productive ecosystem where New England cottontails, box turtles, buckmoths, whip-poor-wills, and dozens of other rare animals and plants can thrive.

Groton State Forest, Central Vermont

A Working Forest Pays Its Way

Since it was established in 1919, Groton State Forest in central Vermont has been a working forest. Today, managers continue to plan and carry out timber harvests that use the renewable, ever-growing stock of hardwood and softwood trees on this 26,000-acre holding. Logging operations provide jobs and yield wood products that boost local and regional economies. But this practical approach doesn’t mean that people and wildlife are ignored.

Johns River Basin, Northern New Hampshire

Managing for Wood, Water, and Wildlife

The Johns River Basin is true North Woods country: birch and aspen trees with twinkling pale-green leaves set against deep-green spires of spruce and fir. Here hikers, hunters, or birders might focus their binoculars on a tiny Canada warbler or alder flycatcher singing in a thicket; spot a big-footed snowshoe hare trying to outrun, across the snow, an equally big-footed Canada lynx; or see a broad-antlered bull moose feeding in a wetland or lumbering across a logging road.

Cape Cod National Seashore, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

"Management by Match"

"I'd like to get it all to the stage where it's 'management by match,' " says David Crary, fire management officer on Cape Cod National Seashore. Crary is referring to some 18,000 acres of upland habitat that planners consider to be "burnable" on the 43,500-acre Seashore.

Bellamy River Wildlife Management Area, Southern New Hampshire

A Host of Techniques for Making Young Forest

Machines clanking through fields, planting shrub seeds. Log skidders piling newly cut trees at a landing. Industrial-strength mowers chopping down old, past-their-prime shrubs so they’ll grow back as thick cover. Conservationists are using all of these techniques and more to turn Bellamy River Wildlife Management Area into a habitat showcase for young-forest wildlife, including the New England cottontail, a rare regional rabbit.

Camp Edwards, Upper Cape Cod, Massachusetts

"Scrub oak is a resilient plant," says John Kelly, a biologist with the U.S. Army at Camp Edwards, a 14,000-acre National Guard training center 50 miles southeast of Boston. Scrub oak provides habitat for a wide range of young-forest creatures. And Camp Edwards may support the largest remaining population of brush-loving New England cottontails anywhere in the species' range.