"WMI and its partners have helped halt the rangewide decline in the population of the American woodcock by making habitat over the last decade," says Dan McAuley, USGS biologist. "Based on Singing Ground Survey data, we've seen no decline during the last 10 to 12 years. Through several telemetry monitoring studies, we've observed a dramatic increase in woodcock numbers in areas where habitat is actively being created." The USGS is a science organization that provides impartial information on the health of our ecosystems and environment, the natural resources we rely on, the impacts of climate and land-use change, and the core science systems that help us provide timely, relevant, and usable information.
Collaboration between partners leads to the creation and renewal of the young forest habitat that so many kinds of wildlife need. Partners pool resources, efficiently use funds, and devise new and innovative approaches to conservation. They conduct strong science to constantly improve our knowledge of how and when wild animals use different habitats – and where we must create young forest to benefit all wildlife.
Please scroll down our list of partners below. To learn how to add your group’s name to this growing coalition, contact conservation professionals working to make and renew young forest in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Midwest.
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The U.S. Forest Service manages and protects 154 national forests and 20 grasslands in 44 states and Puerto Rico. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service and its partners use Farm Bill conservation programs to improve wildlife habitat through sustainable agriculture, including forestry activities and forest management practices. The NRCS works with private landowners and land managers to create habitat for a wide range of mammals, birds, and reptiles that need young forest.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's mission is to work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The agency's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program offers technical and financial assistance to private landowners for voluntary habitat creation and restoration on their lands. The Service also manages the National Wildlife Refuge System, protecting 150 million acres of land and water nationwide for wildlife habitat and public enjoyment, with at least one refuge in each state. The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program provides grants to states for habitat acquisition and management, research, species and habitat monitoring, education, and other conservation efforts that help wildlife.
Audubon Vermont is a state program of the National Audubon Society. We are a nonprofit conservation organization whose mission is to protect birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. We achieve this through conservation, advocacy, community involvement, and by tapping into an active network that includes over 3,000 members and seven Vermont chapters. Our 255-acre Green Mountain Audubon Center located in Huntington, Vermont, has been a community hub of outdoor education and conservation for 50 years, making us the oldest operating nature center in the state.
The Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative is a collaboration of non-profit groups, businesses, state and federal government agencies, and citizens that are participating in or are interested in bird conservation for the state of Ohio. We have come together for one main purpose – to ensure the conservation and effective management of birds in Ohio. Many of OBCI’s priority bird species rely on forests in various successional stages. OBCI works with local and regional partners to educate land managers of public and private properties on how to manage forests to improve bird habitat, including having ample early successional or young forest available for birds to use.
Founded in 2003, Woodcock Limited is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to the welfare of the American woodcock. The group works with local, state, and national organizations and agencies to create, restore, and maintain the young forest habitat that provides cover and food for woodcock and many other kinds of wildlife. Woodcock Limited participates in habitat and species research and supports the development and use of educational materials to increase public awareness and understanding of the American woodcock and its habitat needs.
Woodcock Limited focuses on creating a mosaic of sustainable habitat for both resident woodcock populations and woodcock during their spring and fall migrations. Over 60 additional wild species benefit from this work, including ruffed grouse, wild turkey, bobwhite quail, golden-winged warbler, and white-tailed deer. As a relatively new conservation organization, Woodcock Limited has a need for new members and is looking to form new chapters in states and provinces within the migratory corridors of the woodcock. The organization currently has chapters in New England, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and Louisiana, with more states working toward establishing chapters.
“The Young Forest Project is a perfect match for our organization," says David Kriska, Wildlife Diversity Coordinator for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. "Many of the threatened and endangered species targeted for protection by the Museum's Natural Areas program thrive in or require early successional habitat during some stage of their lives. Harris’s checkerspot, an endangered butterfly species we’re targeting for restoration, requires wet meadow habitats, which spotted turtles and woodcock also need. We see the Young Forest Project as a natural partnership offering a win-win situation for both wildlife and conservation.” The Cleveland Museum of Natural History works to inspire, through science and education, a passion for nature, the protection of natural diversity, and the fostering of health and leadership to a sustainable future.
The Wells Reserve at Laudholm is a National Estuarine Research Reserve. The Wells Reserve operates programs in coastal research and monitoring, environmental learning and decision-maker training, and land and water resource management. The Wells Reserve also manages the woodlands and wetlands, the dunes and grasslands, and the flora and fauna at Laudholm Trust.
“Management activities on the Preserve include using cutting and fire to restore a functioning scrub oak and pitch pine ecosystem," says Conservation Director Neil Gifford. "Since 1991, we’ve conducted cutting and burning on around 1,700 acres, creating much-needed young forest. As conservationists, we need the public’s informed consent and support to make and maintain this extremely valuable habitat.” Forty-five New York Species of Greatest Conservation Need call the Albany Pine Bush Preserve home.
North Lakeland Discovery Center is a nature-based education and community center in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. The Center’s bird club helps survey and monitor bird populations at the Lake Tomahawk Young Forest Habitat Demonstration Area in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest.
Navarino Nature Center is a private non-profit organization whose members are concerned about ecology and environmental education. On Navarino Wildlife Area 30 miles west of Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Center includes nature trails and an energy-efficient building offering displays and programs.
The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds is a grant-making foundation that invests in efforts to protect healthy, natural streams in Pennsylvania, and to clean up pollution and repair damaged wildlife habitat. The Foundation's primary service area extends from the Ohio border to the main stem of the Susquehanna River.
Audubon Connecticut – an operating unit of the National Audubon Society – is one of Connecticut's premier conservation and environmental education organizations. Audubon Connecticut works to carry out the Audubon mission, protecting birds, other wildlife, and their habitats through education, research, advocacy, and land protection.
Connecticut Audubon Society conserves Connecticut’s environment through science-based education and advocacy focused on the state’s bird populations and habitats. CAS manages 19 wildlife sanctuaries, preserves over 2,600 acres of open space, and educates over 200,000 children and adults annually.
Penns Valley Conservation Association serves as a steward of the Upper Penns Creek watershed and its communities in central Pennsylvania. PVCA works to protect and conserve the waters, farmlands, forests, and the heritage upon which Penns Valley's vibrant rural quality of life depends.
New Jersey Audubon Society is a privately supported, not-for profit, statewide membership organization. Founded in 1897, and one of the oldest independent Audubon societies, New Jersey Audubon fosters environmental awareness and a conservation ethic among New Jersey's citizens; protects the state's birds, mammals, other animals, and plants, especially endangered and threatened species; and promotes preservation of valuable natural habitats.
The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to provide public enjoyment, conserve habitat and working lands, and sustain communities. Founded in 1974 to protect significant landscapes in New York State, OSI has partnered in the protection of nearly 2.2 million acres in North America from Alabama up the spine of the Appalachians to southeastern Canada.
Audubon New York was established in 1996 to support National Audubon Society activities in New York State. Audubon's mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity.
Quail Forever is dedicated to the conservation of quail, pheasants, and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education, and land management policies and programs.
Pheasants Forever is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail, and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education, and land management policies and programs.
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation works to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, medical research and child well-being, and environmental conservation.
The Wildlife Conservation Society works to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. WCS currently manages about 500 conservation projects in more than 60 countries.
American Bird Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC works to safeguard the rarest bird species, restore habitats, and reduce threats, unifying and strengthening the bird conservation movement.
The Quality Deer Management Association is a non-profit wildlife conservation organization dedicated to ensuring the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat, and our nation's hunting heritage. QDMA promotes education of hunters and non-hunters toward a better understanding of wildlife management and the stewardship and appreciation of all wildlife.
The Pennsylvania Wildlife for Everyone Endowment Foundation provides private support to enhance wildlife habitat, wildlife scientific research, wildlife education, land preservation, youth programs, and a science and research center. The Foundation celebrates the rich heritage of Pennsylvania wildlife, habitat, and sportsmen and sportswomen.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative is an independent, nonprofit organization responsible for maintaining, overseeing, and improving the internationally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative Program, whose unique fiber-sourcing requirements promote responsible forest management on all suppliers' lands.
White Memorial Foundation takes in 4,000 acres of fields, water, and woodlands in the hills of northwestern Connecticut. The area includes the White Memorial Conservation Center, an environmental education center and nature museum.
Created by Congress in 1984, NFWF is one of the world’s largest conservation grant-makers, working with both the public and private sectors to protect and restore our nation’s fish, wildlife, plants, and habitats. The Foundation supports conservation efforts in all 50 states, U.S. territories, and abroad. Grants – more than 12,600 since the Foundation's founding – are made through a competitive process and awarded to some of the nation’s largest environmental organizations, as well as some of the smallest. NFWF focuses on using the best science to get results and build a better future for the world.
Woodcock Limited of Pennsylvania is a fraternity of hunters and conservationists dedicated to the welfare of the American woodcock. The organization works with local, state, and federal agencies and organizations to promote habitat and woodcock research, habitat management, and harvest management, and to advance the public’s knowledge of the woodcock and its needs. That work also benefits a wide variety of other wildlife that occupy the same habitat as woodcock, including ruffed grouse and white-tailed deer.
The Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society strives to preserve our sporting traditions by creating healthy forests for ruffed grouse and American woodcock. RGS biologists work with private landowners and state and federal agencies to improve lands for grouse, woodcock, and other wildlife that need similar habitats. Local RGS chapters organize and run habitat-related, hunting, and fundraising events.
The National Wild Turkey Federation is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our nation's hunting heritage. Through partnerships with state, federal, and provincial wildlife agencies, NWTF has helped restore wild turkey populations throughout North America. "We try to create young forest for a broad range of wildlife from woodcock and warblers to black bears, while keeping the habitat needs of wild turkeys in mind," says Doug Little, NWTF Northeast conservation field supervisor. "That includes making thick cover for hens to nest in. The Young Forest Project is vital to wildlife habitat conservation. A tremendous number of wildlife species rely on young forests for critical aspects of their life cycles. Partners and landowners working together to create young forest cover are making significant progress, and we are proud to be a part of this team."
The Wildlife Management Institute strives to restore and ensure the well-being of North American wildlife populations through exacting science and carefully crafted partnerships. WMI endorses the validity and importance of science-based wildlife management and seeks to promote biological diversity through applying the principles of ecology.
The Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership seeks to renew habitat for woodcock, golden-winged warblers, and more than 60 other species of wildlife. Says Amber Roth, a habitat biologist with the Golden-Winged Warbler Working Group and a member of the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership's Executive Committee, “Our goal is to educate and engage landowners who are not currently managing their forested lands, so that they’ll consider all of their management options and, we hope, decide to make and enhance young forest for wildlife in appropriate places.” Adds Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologist and WYFP Chairperson Jeremy Holtz, “By pooling agency and partner resources and conducting this effort in a structured way, we can do landscape-scale habitat work while helping local economies through sustainable timber harvesting. Correctly planned and carried out, young forest projects boost outdoor recreation, as folks have more and better opportunities to watch wildlife and to hunt” – both popular activities in Wisconsin. The WYFP includes federal and state agencies, conservation organizations, counties, forestry companies, and private landowners.
GWWG Steering Committee member Amber Roth says: "One critical component to our strategy involves creating high-quality young forest and shrubby habitat for nest cover within a diverse forest landscape. This must be paired with conservation of habitats where warblers spend the winter in Central and South America, as well as habitats that the birds use during migration." The GWWG includes U.S., Canadian, and Latin American ornithologists, conservationists, and managers from academia, federal and state agencies, international non-governmental organizations, and industry. The group’s mission is to conserve golden-winged warbler populations through sound science, education, and habitat management, and to prevent the need to protect the golden-winged warbler under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Many partners are working to save the New England cottontail across this rabbit's six-state range: federal and state agencies, wildlife organizations, private companies, towns and municipalities, land trusts, universities, Native American tribes, and foresters helping people manage their land. Partners seek to create young forest and shrubland so that the New England cottontail continues to thrive in its native region.
Northeast Forest and Fire Management, LLC, specializes in managing pine barrens and other early successional habitats. The company, based in Sandwich, MA, works to restore and maintain rare and declining habitats by preparing forest and fire management plans, managing timber harvests, conducting vegetation treatments (including invasive species management), and helping to plan and carry out prescribed burns. Staff members also present workshops and training on a variety of wildland fire and land management topics. Clients include land trusts, municipalities, federal and state agencies, and numerous private landowners.
Irving Woodlands, LLC, is the largest privately owned and managed forestland in Maine and New Brunswick. The company’s forest management team applies best practices, training, and state-of-the-art technologies to ensure that Irving’s forest and water resources are sustainably managed or conserved. Activities on Irving forestlands comply with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) standards in Maine, and SFI standards in Canada. Irving is committed to providing the habitats needed to support all wildlife species that occur in the company’s forest ecosystems, including young forests important to Species of Greatest Conservation need such as the American woodcock.
The Forestland Group is an independent timberland investment management organization that emphasizes acquiring naturally regenerating hardwood and some softwood forests. The Group manages approximately 3.6 million acres in 24 states, Canada, and Central America.
“Using sustainable logging techniques, we’re generating forest products for industry, creating jobs, and earning income for the owners of the lands we manage," says Wagner forester Ray Berthiaume. "Thanks to the cutting schedule we’ve set up, we’re also able to help wildlife by renewing the young forest habitat that a lot of different animals need.” For over 50 years, Wagner has responsibly tended timberland investments for clients who expect solid economic performance and strong commitments to natural resource stewardship and local communities. Wagner foresters carefully evaluate and manage each unique tract of forest in accordance with globally recognized sustainability standards.
The Lyme Timber Company LP is a private timberland investment management organization that focuses on the acquisition and sustainable management of lands with unique conservation values. The Lyme Timber Company is a recognized leader in sustainable forest management and is committed to practicing high-quality forest stewardship, with particular attention to conserving soil, water, and wildlife resources.
Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world's largest private owners of timberlands, began operations in 1900. We own more than 13 million acres of timberlands, primarily in the U.S., and manage additional timberlands under long-term licenses in Canada. We manage these timberlands on a sustainable basis in compliance with internationally recognized forestry standards. We are stewards of land, working forests, and natural resources, dedicated to enhancing asset value while protecting the environment and promoting prosperity in the communities where we operate.We are stewards of land, working forests, and natural resources, dedicated to enhancing asset value while protecting the environment and promoting prosperity in the communities where we operate. We are among the largest private landowners in the nation and the most geographically diverse, managing more than 6 million acres in 19 states. We are committed to land conservation and are proud of our partnerships that have conserved more than 1.5 million acres across the United States. In addition, we manage more than 805,000 acres under Habitat Conservation Plans.
“The Young Forest Project has given us a framework within which to communicate to private landowners the importance and urgency of managing their forests,” says Larry Powell, professional forester and founder of AFC. “The initiative has also allowed us to offer additional services and support to landowners that we would not otherwise have been able to provide. The end result has been more young forest habitat on the ground.” Since the 1960s, AFC has provided a range of clients in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and New York with forest management plans, surveys, consultations, and design and supervision of timber sales.
MeadWestvaco harvests forest products to make packaging that improves people's lives every day. The company plays a vital role in the economy around the world, and is aware of the ways in which it can improve society and the environment through its operations and products, including promoting sustainable forestry practices.
The Scarborough Land Trust conserves land for people, for wildlife - forever. The Scarborough Land Trust’s mission is to conserve land where natural resources, scenic vistas, and historical significance offer unique value to the local community. To date, the Land Trust has protected more than 1,200 acres in Scarborough for public benefit.
"Young forest restoration creates habitat diversity and rare and endangered species habitat that is vital to northeastern Ohio," says Alex Czayka, Eastern Associate Field Director for the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. The organization works with landowners, communities, government agencies, park systems, and other nonprofit organizations to permanently protect natural areas and farmland in northern Ohio. WRLC has protected more than 35,000 acres in 18 counties.
The Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust is a nonprofit lands conservancy serving New Hampshire’s North Country. ACT conserves land with ecological, community, historic, or scenic value, focusing especially on farmlands and working forests that give the region its heritage and character and are integral to the economy.
Avalonia Land Conservancy is a land trust in southeastern Connecticut dedicated to acquiring and conserving natural areas. "We realize that actively managing our preserves is essential for creating a diversity of habitats, including a young forest component," says Beth Sullivan, Stonington Town Committee Chair and Steward for ALC. "We're working to help all wildlife, and to promote the future health of the land and all species upon it." ALC holds more than 3,400 acres of land, preserved in perpetuity as natural open space, and believes it is essential to protect natural resources for the benefit of wildlife, our present generation, and generations yet to come.
Orenda Wildlife Land Trust is a private nonprofit working on Cape Cod and throughout Massachusetts. Orenda acquires land to be held in perpetuity as wildlife sanctuaries, and assists others in protecting open space for wildlife. Orenda manages 14 wildlife sanctuaries totaling 330 acres and has been a partner with other land trusts in protecting nearly 800 acres of land.
The Trustees of Reservations preserve, for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts. The Trustees care for more than 100 special places – more than 25,000 acres.
Berkshire Natural Resources Council is a non-profit land conservation organization working throughout the Berkshires in Massachusetts to protect farms, forests, streams, and ridgelines – the great landscape features that give the region its clean water, fresh air, local produce, healthy wildlife, and outstanding recreational opportunities. BNRC owns and manages 8,600 acres and protects an additional 10,011 acres through conservation restrictions.
York Land Trust and its members value the need for a healthy natural environment to ensure the social, economic, and overall well-being of the Greater York/Mount Agamenticus Region of Southern Maine. York Land Trust works to conserve and protect lands of ecological, historic, scenic, agricultural, and cultural significance.
Becket Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization that owns and operates an historic quarry site and a forest preserve in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. It was founded by a group of citizens concerned with protecting the Town of Becket's rural character, natural resources, and ecologically sensitive areas.
Working from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land offers a range of services to meet the conservation needs of the 21st century. The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, so that everyone has the chance to connect with nature, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources works to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife resources and provide opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping, boating, and other wildlife-related activities. The Department works actively to create and enhance young forest habitat that benefits the state’s populations of ruffed grouse, American woodcock, bobwhite quail, elk, white-tailed deer, breeding and migratory birds, and many other species. A new Ruffed Grouse and Young Forest Strategic Plan will focus resources and leverage partnerships to advance habitat improvements in eastern Kentucky’s grouse range.
More than 20,000 soldiers train each year at Camp Ethan Allen, including members of the Vermont National Guard. The VNG maintains an active natural resource management program featuring forestry, controlled burning, and vegetation management yielding both forest products and wildlife habitat.
Training facilities for the Massachusetts National Guard are located on Upper Cape Cod at Camp Edwards and Otis Air Force Base. Camp Edwards includes areas of scrub oak that are home to what is probably the healthiest population of New England cottontails, a species whose range has contracted and whose numbers have fallen over the last half-century. Staff biologists use prescribed burning to create dense habitat for cottontails and other wildlife. By monitoring rabbits equipped with radio-telemetry collars, the researchers study how New England cottontails use and move about in scrub oak and pitch pine habitats.
The Pennsylvania Army National Guard maintains a 17,000-acre training facility at Fort Indiantown Gap near Harrisburg. Staff conservationists shape a landscape for military training while simultaneously making and renewing thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, including native grasslands and young forest. Joseph Hovis, head of the base’s Wildlife Section, says, “Each year we apply fire to 3,000 to 5,000 acres and harvest timber on another 200 to 300 acres. Those activities yield the kind of periodic disturbances that set back vegetative growth and give rise to patches of young forest and grassland that move around on the landscape.” At the Gap, such ephemeral habitats support a broad range of young forest wildlife. “Fort Indiantown Gap is one of the most biodiverse places I’ve ever been,” reports Forest Program Manager Shannon Henry, “and that’s because we proactively manage it."
“Partnering with the Wildlife Management Institute has led not only to a noticeable increase in young forest wildlife at Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center,” says Brian Riley, natural resources program manager, “but it’s also helped the Ohio Army National Guard facilitate tactical training maneuvers and exercises to prepare our personnel who serve us here at home and around the world. This partnership underscores the Ohio Army National Guard's ongoing commitment to protecting land and liberty."
The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District is the largest conservancy district in the State of Ohio and provides a wide variety of services and programs throughout the 8,000-square-mile Muskingum River Watershed. The District’s mission reads: "Responsible stewards dedicated to providing the benefits of flood reduction, conservation and recreation in the Muskingum River Watershed."
The Division of Forestry is a unit of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Ohio has 21 state forests covering more than 200,000 acres. They are managed for multiple uses including sustainable timber production, wildlife habitat, soil and water protection, and recreation.
“With young forests being an important part of Vermont’s natural heritage, we look to find appropriate places to manage for this habitat type, along with locations to provide more mature forest conditions for our other plant and wildlife species," says Stewardship Forester Lou Bushey. "One such place is 30,000-acre Groton State Forest, which gets more than 75,000 visitors annually. It's a perfect place to demonstrate the many management techniques we have available to us as foresters and wildlife biologists.”
Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources conserves and sustains the Commonwealth’s natural resources for present and future generations’ use and enjoyment. DCNR manages state parks and forests.
"To maintain a healthy and diverse forest wildlife community, we work with landowners to make sure a variety of forested habitats are present on the landscape," says Scott Walter, upland wildlife ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Both game and nongame wildlife, including many species of conservation concern, benefit from the active forest management practices promoted by the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership. Our agency is a committed partner in this venture because we recognize that our greatest partners are the private landowners who own and control the vast majority of our state’s forests, and through them great things can be accomplished."
“More than 80 percent of West Virginia is forested,” says Upland Game Biologist Keith Krantz with WVDNR's Wildlife Resources Section. “Forty years ago, almost 20 percent of our forest was in the 0-to-20 year-old age class; that percentage has fallen to about 8 percent today, as tree growth has significantly outpaced tree cutting. Over 70 species of young-forest-dependent wildlife are in significant decline due to habitat loss.” On properties they manage, Wildlife Resources personnel have begun active timber management, as well as controlled burning, to create young forest habitat. Adds Krantz, “We have embraced the Young Forest Initiative and begun educating and training our staff as well as other professionals and private landowners to recognize its benefits.”
The Ohio Division of Wildlife works to provide the public with opportunities to benefit from wildlife for recreational, scientific, and other purposes. The Division’s goal is to ensure an abundance of high-quality wildlife experiences for today's Ohioans and for future generations.
The Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources is part of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The Division strives to provide the people of New York the opportunity to enjoy all the benefits of the wildlife of the state, now and in the future.
The Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies works to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in 17 eastern states. Working together, the Association’s member agencies ensure that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice in the region.
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife protects and manages the state's fish and wildlife to maximize their long-term biological, recreational, and economic values for all New Jerseyans. The Division is in the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.
Minnesota’s Division of Fish and Wildlife manages, protects, and regulates the state's fish and wildlife resources. The agency recommends fishing, hunting, and other wildlife-related regulations; carries out census, survey, and research projects; and promotes habitat protection and development on public and private lands.
"Our goal is to manage our state's forests to encourage natural disturbance processes that help maintain intact, functional landscapes and ecosystems, providing healthy and sustainable habitat for the broad range of Michigan's native plant and animal species," says Michigan DNR Director Keith Creagh. The agency works to "maintain a variety of forest successional states, diverse species composition, and balanced age- and size-class structure to enhance biological diversity and ensure adequate regeneration of even-aged cover types, such as aspen woodlands." Adds Russ Mason, DNR's Wildlife Division Chief and co-chair of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Association's Woodcock Task Force, "Managing American woodcock, both in Michigan and at a national level, is very important. To this end, we're focused on developing successful strategies to advance young forest habitat goals."
Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service is an arm of the Department of Natural Resources, which works to secure a sustainable future for the state's environment, society, and economy by preserving, protecting, restoring, and enhancing Maryland’s natural resources.
Says Craig Rhoads, program manager for Habitat Conservation and Management, “Through a variety of projects, the Division of Fish & Wildlife is working to manage areas as young forests, through reforesting agricultural fields, selectively harvesting monotypic stands of mature pine to promote young forest regeneration, and using prescribed burning of forest understory. These activities benefit numerous plant and wildlife species, including many that are listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Delaware. Young forests provide critical habitat for many game and non-game wildlife species, as well as additional environmental benefits such as increased carbon sequestration."
The Division of Fish and Wildlife, in the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, works to ensure that the freshwater, marine, and wildlife resources of the state are conserved and managed for equitable and sustainable use.
The Department manages Connecticut's wildlife to maintain stable, healthy populations compatible with both habitat carrying capacity and existing land use practices. The Wildlife Division, in cooperation with other partners, oversees a Young Forest and Shrubland Initiative to help restore those important habitats.
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, also known as MassWildlife, is responsible for the conservation – including restoration, protection, and management – of fish and wildlife resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the public. The Division works to balance the needs of people and wildlife so that wildlife will be available for everyone's enjoyment today and for future generations.
Says Paul Hamelin, Vermont Fish and Wildlife habitat biologist, “Data from the U.S. Forest Service indicate that as Vermont’s forests continue to mature, the amount of young forest has decreased by 50 percent in just ten years. Many birds, mammals, and reptiles that depend on young forest are declining in numbers due to the decrease in their habitat. Research has shown that young forest patches are also preferred by mature forest birds after the nesting period, and the patches seem to be extremely important to migrating birds as well. Many common animals such as deer, moose, ruffed grouse, rabbits, and snowshoe hares also need young forest to thrive. Because our developments on the landscape suppress the processes such as flooding and fires that would naturally create young forest, we need to implement carefully planned management actions, such as timber harvests, to continually provide large patches of this essential habitat.”
“Many different kinds of wildlife have been declining for decades because of an ever-dwindling amount of young forest in the Granite State,” notes habitat biologist Jim Oehler with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. “We work with our conservation partners to actively manage forests through timber harvesting, mowing, and prescribed fire, in order to create important young forests and shrublands. We firmly believe that support from private landowners and the general public is imperative in our efforts to safeguard our state’s biodiversity, and to keep common wildlife common and help bring back animals whose populations have been falling.”
The Department carries out a wide variety of conservation programs focused on maintaining abundant game resources, as well as managing non-game wildlife and restoring endangered species. The Department's mission includes protecting and enhancing Maine's inland fisheries and wildlife, while at the same time providing for the wise use and enjoyment of those highly valued resources now and in the future.
“To have healthy wildlife populations, we need areas of young forest interspersed with areas of older forest," says Ben Jones, chief of the PGC’s Habitat Planning and Development Division. "Many of our state’s Species of Greatest Conservation Need require young forest during substantial parts of their life cycles. Timber harvests and prescribed burning are two techniques that the Game Commission is using to recreate the natural disturbances that once provided abundant young forest in the East.” The Game Commission manages the state’s wild birds and mammals and their habitats for current and future generations. The agency seeks to champion all wildlife resources as well as Pennsylvania's hunting and trapping heritage, and employs habitat management to make lands more attractive and accommodating to wildlife.
VDGIF is responsible for the management of inland fisheries, wildlife, and recreational boating. The agency’s mission includes managing the state's wildlife to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania is part of the state’s System of Higher Education. IUP is committed to building the technical capacity to develop and implement conservation plans that benefit young forest wildlife. Jeff Larkin is a professor of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at IUP, as well as the Forest Bird Habitat Coordinator for the American Bird Conservancy. He oversees a team of conservation planners and foresters based in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service field offices. Working in Pennsylvania, he and other members of the Pennsylvania Young Forest Council developed a strategy of identifying forested parcels where key habitat could be created. Says Larkin, “It’s not about young forests versus old forests, rather it’s about working with partners to create and maintain structurally diverse forested landscapes. The more field research and monitoring of forest wildlife we complete, the more we realize that many species use a suite of forest age classes to nest, forage, and rear young. It’s very rewarding to be involved with the conservation process from conducting research that leads to science-based management guidelines, to securing funding needed to implement those guidelines, and to monitoring the response of woodcock, golden-winged warblers, and associated wildlife to habitat management.” Larkin’s habitat creation model for golden-winged warblers has worked so well in Pennsylvania – with over 10,000 acres of young forest created from 2012 to 2014 – that it’s now being applied in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Maryland as well.
Located in southwestern Pennsylvania, California University of Pennsylvania is part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The Foundation for California University funds the creation of important young forest habitat for wildlife in Pennsylvania.
The University of New Hampshire's Woodlands and Natural Areas Committee manages the university's woodlands and natural areas for educational purposes, research opportunities, and public benefit to the students and citizens of New Hampshire and beyond.
Dartmouth College owns and manages 27,000 acres of woodland known as the Second College Grant in northern New Hampshire. The Grant is characterized by a remote wilderness aesthetic, a diversity of habitat, and pristine waters. The area has long been used for timber harvesting, in balance with other management goals such as wilderness recreation, preservation of natural places and waters, and long-term forest sustainability.
“Pennsylvania’s forests cover nearly 60 percent of the state,” says James Finley, Extension Forester and Director of Penn State’s Center for Private Forests. “Around 70 percent of those forests – nearly 12 million acres – are held by 738,000 individuals. Penn State Cooperative Extension provides research-based education and outreach to help those folks make good resource management decisions, which often include wildlife-focused values. In working with the Young Forest Initiative, we seek to encourage management activities that lead to successful forest regeneration, control competing and invasive plants, and provide better habitat for wildlife that need diverse, healthy, and productive woodlands.”
“New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the country,” says Haley Andreozzi, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Wildlife Outreach Coordinator. “More than 80 percent of those forests are owned by private landowners, so we depend on these individuals to provide wildlife habitat and help manage our state’s forests. Extension foresters and wildlife specialists provide research-based education to landowners, helping them make informed decisions concerning their land, which often include managing for a diversity of wildlife habitat. Creating and renewing young forest provides important habitat that is currently underrepresented on the landscape, and helps in our efforts to keep common wildlife common and to conserve wildlife whose numbers have been falling.”
The Department of Ecosystem Science and Management in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences prepares students for careers in sustainable management of natural resources. The Department conducts research to create new knowledge about Pennsylvania’s forests, wildlife and fisheries, soils, and watersheds, and disseminates that knowledge through the classroom and extension education programs serving professionals, landowners, policymakers, and other stakeholders.