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Kentucky wildlife species are abundant and many live in our woodlands. Because the state’s woodlands are privately owned, individual management of woodlands has a significant impact on our wildlife.
Depending on the woodland owners’ objectives, they can consider timber management and wildlife habitat together. You do not necessarily have to choose between the production of high quality timber and healthy wildlife populations. By taking a few management steps you can manage both trees and wildlife.
Remember any woodland management activity will benefit some wildlife species and discourage others from visiting your area. Management practices may include crop-tree release, thinning, tree planting, invasive-species control, or other timber-improvement practices that will also benefit certain wildlife species.
Healthy forests provide for a wide variety of wildlife species such as deer, wild turkey, songbirds, snakes, rabbits, grouse and bats to name a few. Planning and implementing timber-management activities that also enhance the wildlife habitat of selected species can allow you to accomplish multiple objectives at the same time.
If you need help getting started, many agencies are ready to help. UK extension specialists and agents, and foresters with the Kentucky Division of Forestry, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources biologists can visit your property and develop a plan to meet your management goals and also enhance the wildlife habitat.
Technical assistance is available from these Kentucky agencies to show landowners how to implement the recommendations. Sometimes equipment and other supplies may also be available.
Occasionally, conservation programs will pay landowners to conduct certain management practices, so ask if these are available in your area.
Quality timber production and healthy wildlife habitats are possible with a well-planned and well-managed design. The key is to get the help you need so you will have a plan that will serve your needs and will also enhance wildlife populations.
Through your specific plan, you can enrich your woodlands and the quality of life of wildlife. The key is to match your objectives with the capabilities of your land and get the assistance you need to implement your plan.
For more information on managing your woodlands, contact the McCreary County Cooperative Extension Service at 606-376-2524. We can help you get the expert help you need and put your plan into action.
Source: Billy Thomas, Extension Forester and Tom Barnes, Extension Wildlife Professor
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