To attract wildlife to your property, you must provide suitable habitat. Habitat consists of food, water, shelter, and space.

As a general rule, the more diverse the habitat that is available, the more diverse the wildlife that that habitat has the potential to attract and maintain. The increased plant and animal diversity of mature forests has a price, however. Abundance of any particular species often declines as diversity increases, resulting in a lower potential yield to humans, whether they are hunters, berry pickers, or loggers.

Figure 11-2. Wildlife find food, water, shelter, and space in forests. Photo courtesy of Scott Craven

If your management objective is to increase biodiversity (maximize the number of species on your property to the extent possible), you?fll need to maximize habitat diversity on your property. This could entail managing for mixed species forests (for example, a variety of hardwood or softwood species, or a mixed hardwood and pine habitat), different aged stands, or stands that are both mixed species and mixed age. Alternatively, you may want to manage for one or a few wildlife species and indirectly benefit many other species that share the habitat. Be aware, however, that while some species may benefit from a particular set of management actions, the same wildlife management practices may not benefit?\and may actually harm?\other wildlife species.