Management to conserve forest ecosystems

workshop held June 11-12, 1984
Edited by:
William C. McComb


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Historically, management of forests for wildlife has emphasized creation of openings and provision for a maximum of edge habitats. Wildlife managers have believed, quite logically, that increased sunlight enhances productivity among plants and insects, resulting in greater use by game animals and other wildlife. Recent studies comparing breeding bird populations of extensive forests with those of isolated woodlots have shown that the smaller woodlots, especially those under 35 ha (about 85 acres), lack many species that are typical of the larger tracts. The missing species can be predicted, and basically are the neotropical migrants. These long-distance migrants share several characteristics that make them especially vulnerable to reproductive failure in situations where predation and cowbird parasitism are high: they are primarily single-brooded, open nesters that lay small clutches on or near the ground. Edge habitats and forest openings attract cowbirds and predators. The edge species of birds, which are mostly permanent residents or short-distance migrants, are well adapted to survive and reproduce in small isolated woodlands without the benefit of special habitat management. The obligate forest interior species, on the other hand, are decreasing in those parts of North America where extensive forests are being replaced by isolated woodlands. If we are to preserve ecosystems intact for the benefit of future generations, and maintain a viable gene pool for the scarcer species, we must think in terms of retaining large, unbroken tracts of forest and of limiting disturbance in the more remote portions of these tracts.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Book chapter
Publication Subtype:
Book Chapter
Management to conserve forest ecosystems
Year Published:
Department of Forestry, University of Kentucky
Publisher location:
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
vi, 404
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
Other Government Series
Larger Work Title:
Proceedings of the Workshop on Management of Nongame Species and Ecological Communities
First page:
Last page: