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Exploring Woodland Wildlife for Your Management Plan

By Norma Kline (from Spring 2020)

Small woodland owners in Oregon have many reasons for owning woodlands. Whether ownership objectives are driven primarily by economic goals or the desire for beauty, privacy and recreation, most of us value and appreciate our native wildlife. Did you know that the Oregon Forest Management Plan Template (see link below) has a Fish and Wildlife Section used to describe the different wildlife species and habitats that are present on your property and desired in the future? The first step in the Fish and Wildlife Section is to describe wildlife (or signs of wildlife) you currently observe on your property. Are you unsure what you have? This might become a wonderful way to explore your property and increase your knowledge and appreciation of your woodlands. Consider grabbing a pair of binoculars and scanning your treetops for migratory songbirds or carefully lift up a rotten log to see if you can find an amphibian living underneath. Another idea is to install a game camera in your woods in an area you suspect wildlife is frequenting, you might be surprised with what you see! Are you considering different types of wildlife? Don’t forget potential fish in streams, amphibians, migratory songbirds and bats. Remember, one of the benefits of developing a management plan is the process of learning about your forest and deciding what you want to do, it’s your plan!

Here are a few aspects to consider in your investigation

  • Streams and Riparian areas. Do you have streams and riparian areas? Check out the new extension publication, EM 9244, Streams and Riparian Areas: Clean Water, Diverse Habitat here) here to help you learn more about this topic,
  • Hardwoods and shrubs. Do you have hardwood and shrub vegetation cover on your property?  Oak woodlands, patches of alder, myrtle, tanoak or openings with shrubs provide habitat for many species including songbirds.
  • Snags (dead trees) and down logs. Leaving a few dead trees on the landscape (away from homes and improvements) can benefit cavity dwelling bird and bats. Decaying logs are great habitat for amphibians and reptiles
  • Tree density. Do you have areas on your property in dense conifer? If your management objective is economic, you might have a timber harvest planned soon, but if not, you might consider thinning your forest for tree health and diversity.

Additional reading and resources:

Watch great videos here about wildlife habitat in the Know Your Forest website:

To learn more check out the Oregon Forest Resource Institute series on Wildlife in Managed Forests here.  Titles include, Early Seral Associated Songbirds, Fisher and Humbolt Marten, American Beaver, Fish Habitat and Passage, Deer and Elk, stream-associated amphibians.

Thinning: An Important Timber Management Tool. William Emmingham. PNW 184 August 1983. PNW can be viewed here

Management Planning for Woodland Owners: A visual Guide, Amy Grotta, EM 9065 May 2014 can be viewed here.

The Oregon Forest Management Plan Template can be found here

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