Context of Management - Appalachian

Context of Woodcock Management with Other Wildlife and Cultural Values

To help the woodcock population rebound, we need to cut trees to spur the growth of young forest and shrubland. But managing a given area to favor woodcock may not be the best plan. Protecting the following resources may be more important than creating new woodcock habitat.

  • Endangered and threatened species must be protected. To learn if an area contemplated for woodcock management hosts any endangered or threatened plants or animals, consult with state or provincial wildlife agencies or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Key wildlife habitats such as deer feeding areas, beech stands used by bears as feeding habitats, and other important sources of mast (the nuts of forest trees eaten by wildlife) may be more important to the biodiversity of an area than creating more young forest.
  • Natural areas or ecological reserves are set aside to protect key ecological values. Although creating young forest may not harm the natural resources on those sites, expert advice should be sought before working in or near protected areas.
  • Large blocks of unbroken forest in landscapes with abundant farming or developed lands may need to be preserved as mature woodland.
  • High-elevation forests are one example of a forest type where managing for woodcock is not likely to succeed. Forests growing on very well drained, dry soils are also unlikely sites for increasing local woodcock populations. Wildlife agencies can help identify these areas.
  • Vernal pools and seasonal wetlands are critical breeding and feeding habitats for amphibians and other wild creatures. Such microhabitats can be harmed by an increase in water temperature caused by removing the tree canopy shading the wetlands.
  • Water quality must always be protected. Cutting trees on steep slopes can cause erosion and deposit silt in waterways. State and provincial forestry and fish and wildlife agencies and the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service can provide guidance on where and where not to cut.
  • Natural heritage programs collect, analyze, and distribute scientific information about biological diversity and can provide information on the locations and conditions of rare and threatened species and important ecological communities.
  • Historic and cultural heritage sites hold the physical remains and objects that link us to our past. The governments of each state and province have historic preservation offices that can determine where cultural resources exist and whether habitat management activities will affect them.
  • Too much of anything is usually a negative. In a landscape that already has abundant young forest, consider the needs of species that need older, mature forests before creating more early successional habitat.