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A land manager's guide to conserving habitat for forest birds in ...

A land manager's guide to conserving habitat for forest birds in ...

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Photo: Lucas Foerster “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Aldo Leopold 60

Photo: Doug Tozer GUIDELINES FOR FOREST MANAGEMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF FOREST BIRD DIVERSITY Given all the factors that influence the quality of a forest, determining the best management options for a woodlot can seem like an overwhelming task. We know that much of our biodiversity is resilient to disturbance, both natural and human. It is believed that thresholds exist in nature, beyond which the systems ability to recover or rebound is lost. In most cases, we do not know where these thresholds lie. In their place, we try to manage in a way that mimics natural disturbance regimes, recognizing that these lie within the system’s limit. The further our management patterns diverge from natural regimes in frequency, intensity, extent, or any combination of these, the greater our risk of jeopardizing some components of biodiversity. Landowners ultimately have the power to maintain or enhance stand quality, mainly with appropriate silviculture practices based on site and forest characteristics. We recommend seeking advice from a professional forester, which can increase economic return in the end. Below is a list of 15 key management guidelines to incorporate into your forest management plan to maintain and enhance forest habitat for biodiversity and other ecosystem values and functions. 1. Preserve unaltered habitat Old growth forests tend to have structurally more diverse habitats with a variety of features and unique microhabitats that are often absent from younger second growth forests (see Old Growth Features page 63). These features provide habitat for 46 bird and mammal species in southern Ontario that prefer old growth habitat. These habitats are now rare in southern Ontario, as most were removed by logging, forest fires, and European settlement by the early 1900s. Preserving existing tracts or allowing a forest to succeed naturally into old growth is the simplest and most effective way to restore this component into the current landscape. Woodlot owners Differences in Structural Diversity Between Mature and Old Growth Forests Artwork: Peter Burke Guidelines for Forest Management and Maintenance of Forest Bird Diversity 61

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