Diverse Habitats Support Diverse Wildlife

image of brown thrasher
Ed Guthro
Brown thrashers thrive in young forest and shrubland.

Many animals need young forest and shrubland: Mammals like bats, bobcats, cottontail rabbits, and snowshoe hares. Birds like towhees and indigo buntings, American woodcock and whip-poor-wills. Reptiles such as wood turtles and green snakes. Pollinating insects use this early successional habitat, too.

Northeastern states identify more than 60 kinds of wildlife that require young forest as "Species of Greatest Conservation Need" in their State Wildlife Action Plans.

They include rare and imperiled animals like the New England cottontail and golden-winged warbler, as well as more-abundant creatures such as wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, and black bears. Birds that mainly inhabit older woodlands also find important food in areas of young forest.

We Can Help

Today, because humans have largely controlled the natural disturbance processes that once created ample young forest and shrubland, we need to make and refresh those habitats in key places so that wildlife can thrive. It's an ongoing task with these short-lived but extremely valuable habitats. That's what the Young Forest Initiative is all about.

Animals Need Young Trees And Native Shrubs