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Westborough — As part of its commitment working with private landowners on wildlife habitat management, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) is encouraging private or municipal landowners, land trusts, and conservation organizations to consider creating young forest habitat to benefit wildlife. To advance this conservation effort, MassWildlife’s habitat management staff is available to provide technical advice and guidance on financial assistance to qualified landowners.
Young forest habitats, areas of densely clustered tree saplings and sprouts, have become relatively scarce in Massachusetts over the past 50 years, and now occupy less than 4% of the forested landscape. MassWildlife's habitat goals call for 10-15% young forest to conserve wildlife that rely on this unique habitat including New England cottontail, American woodcock, ruffed grouse, and golden-winged warbler. The species have experienced decline and need young forests for nesting, foraging for food and evading predators. These same habitats are also used by many songbirds, and by game species such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and black bear.
How is young forest habitat created? Active habitat management activities such as cutting, burning, or mowing are standard techniques used to create and maintain young forest habitats. Selecting the most appropriate methods for a particular property can be daunting. To assist landowners, MassWildlife’s habitat biologists can offer technical advice and direct qualified landowners to funding opportunities that best align land and wildlife goals for the property.
To address initial funding needs, MassWildlife partners with the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) which offers cost-sharing opportunities for habitat creation. To learn more about eligibility and the application process for these funding programs, contact Marianne Piché (508) 389-6313 firstname.lastname@example.org or Patrick Conlin (508) 389-6388 email@example.com.
Visit youngforest.org for more information on the value of young forests to Massachusetts’ rare and common wildlife.