We developed this guide to help New England forest landowners manage their properties as wildlife habitats and as sources of forest products. These goals—improved habitat conditions and timber management—are not incompatible; wildlife habitat improvement, in fact, depends upon timber management. This dependency is a result of historical human impacts on the landscape that have substantially curtailed certain natural disturbance processes that formerly regenerated extensive areas of various early successional habitats needed by a wide variety of wildlife species. While disturbance by wind and pathogens still occurs periodically across the landscape, relatively frequent disturbance by fire, flooding, and beaver do not. Disturbance by fire throughout the extensive oak-hickory forest region of southern New England, by spring flooding that formerly maintained expansive wet meadows along rivers, and by beaver flowages along low-gradient streams formerly created sprawling mosaics of herb/shrub habitats in now developed areas. Such natural disturbances have essentially been eliminated by human activity. Either active management must replace these vibrant, open habitats, or we will witness continued declines in wildlife species that are adapted to postdisturbance environments. This guide presents options for managing habitats in extensively forested northern New England and in more agricultural/suburban southern New England.
DeGraaf, Richard M.; Yamasaki, Mariko; Leak, William B.; Lester, Anna M. 2005. Landowner's guide to wildlife habitat, forest management for the New England Region. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont Press and Hanover, NH: University Press of New England. 111 p.