COPAKE–The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a public meeting to discuss the state’s Young Forest Initiative and habitat management goals at the Doodletown Wildlife Management Area (WMA) on Monday, December 4, 6 p.m. at the town of Copake’s Park Building/Community Center, 305 Mt. View Road.
Joining DEC staff will be experts from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Audubon NY, The Nature Conservancy and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry who will present information about the importance of young forests for a number of declining wildlife species in New York State, especially the New England Cottontail. After the presentations, the public will have an opportunity to speak with the assembled experts, including DEC staff.
To provide suitable habitat for the various species that depend on young forests, DEC is planning to undertake forest management techniques at DEC’s Doodletown WMA. These techniques include seed tree and shelter wood timber cuts which leave a varied level of mature trees remaining for cover and a seed source for regeneration.
The creation of openings in the forest canopy will allow a dense understory of herbaceous plants, shrubs and tree seedling/saplings to become established, habitat that is required by the target species at Doodletown WMA.
Having diverse age classes of vegetation within forest stands results in healthier, more resilient forests by mimicking the conditions created after natural disturbances such as forest fires, wind storms or drought.
Young forest is created after a disturbance occurs within a forested habitat or by allowing grasslands, shrublands or abandoned farm fields to revert to forest. Young forest habitat is comprised of a vast diversity of plants including grasses, wildflowers, vines, shrubs and tree seedlings and saplings. Wildlife needs all types of habitat to survive, including young forest.
For more information about DEC’s Young Forest Initiative, go to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/104218.html.