One of the most common reasons families offer for owning a woodland is to enjoy the wildlife it supports, whether by hunting, bird watching, photography or some other activity. When discussing management of forest-dwelling wildlife, it is impossible to separate wildlife management from wood- land management, because the forest type and management activities directly affect the wildlife species that live within the forested habitat. In fact, management of some popular species, like ruffed grouse and woodcock, depends on timber harvesting. Woodland management for these species, and for forest products, affects many other species; some for the better?\some for the worse. In some cases wildlife can affect woodland management. For example, high densities of deer can prevent regeneration of oak forests.
This chapter will first discuss harvest types related to wildlife management and wildlife species that tend to favor young (also referred to as early-successional) forests. The discussion will then shift to species that prefer older, more mature stands or that occupy and travel freely between stands of diverse types and ages. The chapter ends with an overview of common challenges facing woodland owners.
The Midwest has an abundance of terrestrial vertebrate wildlife. Bird species are the most numerous, followed by mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Many bird species are migratory, as are some of the mammals, namely bats. Other birds and mammals, and all of the reptile and amphibian species, are considered resident species. Individuals of these species typically stay relatively close to the area in which they were born. Whether a species is migratory or residential, or a bird, mammal, reptile, or amphibian, all species require suitable habitat to survive. A good wildlife identification field guide will provide at least a general understanding of species-specific habitat requirements.
Figure 11-1. Forests provide aesthetics, recreational opportunities, wood products, and wildlife habitat. Photo courtesy of Mel Baughman