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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 ...

Male Baltimore Oriole

Male Baltimore Oriole — Photo: Marie Read “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Aldo Leopold 76

Great Crested Flycatcher — Photo: Daniel Cadieux WHERE TO BEGIN Whether managing a woodlot for wildlife or for high-value timber production, the importance of making appropriate management decisions cannot be understated. Knowing what you have, what you want to do, and having the right tools and information available to help you do it, will go a long way to ensuring that your woodlot is managed in the best possible way. The silviculture system you choose for managing your stand should recognize the true potential of your forest based on its current condition and the productivity of your site (see Assessing the Health, Vigour, and Quality of Your Woodlot on page 78). The choice of a silvicultural system, and the preparation and application of a silvicultural prescription usually requires the assistance of a professional forester. Consider the following before you harvest your woodlot: Photo: Lucas Foerster 1. Goals: Develop a management plan that outlines short- and long-term goals and objectives for your property. Work to conserve biodiversity by considering the range of species present and/or suitability of your woodlot for specialized species or specialized habitats when developing forest management plans (see Habitat Management Considerations on page 79). Ensure your harvest method will help achieve those goals. (If you are considering applying for the Ontario Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program, you must have a management plan.) The province has produced A Guide to Stewardship Planning for Natural Areas that creates a good framework for developing a plan. 2. Ecological conditions: Some tree species are very adaptable and can grow in a wide range of geographical locations, climate zones, and soil types. Other tree species thrive under very specific conditions. Know your woodlot to understand how the ecological conditions affect the growth of existing tree species and the species you plan to regenerate. 3. Stand characteristics: Review the stand characteristics from your woodlot inventory (size of the area, species type, tree density, species composition, age, and understorey vegetation) to help you to determine which silvicultural system or harvest method will work best for you and what attributes to protect or emphasize. Be aware of the current state of your stand; if you inherited a degraded or poorly managed woodlot, it may take some years of careful management to reestablish a healthy functioning woodlot that will produce high value forest products and ecological services (see Rehabilitating Degraded Woodlands on page 80). 4. Species regeneration characteristics: When reviewing your inventory data, evaluate whether regeneration or small seedlings exist and which species seem to be dominant. If these are shade-tolerant species like sugar maple, beech, and hemlock then the selection system will continue to support their development and growth. If you have other less shade-tolerant species in the regeneration layer or represented in the overstorey you may need to consider group selection or even-aged systems to promote the perpetuation of those species in your forest. To regenerate a mixedwood forest of oak and pine, choose the shelterwood system. Small patch clear cuts may work best for shade-intolerant species like aspen, balsam poplar, or tulip tree because they require full sunlight for regeneration. Land owners must ensure the chosen silvicultural system and approach to logging is permitted under their local tree conservation by-law. 5. Age: Determine if you have an even-aged or uneven-aged stand. Trees in even-aged stands are about the same age (plus or minus 10 years) and form a single canopy Where to Begin 77

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