Diverse Habitats Support Diverse Wildlife
Many animals need young forest and shrubland: Mammals like 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, black bear, and many songbirds.
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 wildlife can thrive. It's an ongoing task with these short-lived but extremely valuable habitats. And that's what the Young Forest Initiative is all about.