Landowner’s Guide to Wildlife Abundance Through Forestry

Your woodlands offer the promise of immediate and long-term benefits. Managed forests produce yields of timber and wildlife. Land with abundant game may be leased to hunting clubs for as much or even more than its taxes or provide the base for a hunting preserve business. Other recreation-based sources of income, such as camping or horseback riding, will be made more attractive on properties managed for wildlife. But economic considerations, though important, may not be your main reason for owning the land. To have a place where wildlife lives and can be enjoyed may be your primary desire. Land that has productive wildlife habitat is a pleasure to behold. The satisfaction of working with nature to increase wildlife abundance, and at the same time, of leaving to the next generation property of increasing economic and aesthetic values can be yours through careful but decisive management.

Management of Bottomland Hardwood Forests in South Carolina for Wildlife Using Green Tree Reservoirs

Bottomland hardwood forests occupy the floodplains of many large and small rivers of the southeastern United States. These forests are productive systems and contain a variety of wildlife habitats. Many of these areas have been leveed and are flooded to make food, such as acorns and benthic organisms, available to waterfowl. The forested areas within the levees are called greentree reservoirs (GTRs). Flooding normally occurs during the winter dormant season and drainage when foliage begins to develop.

Managing Lowcountry Forests for Wildlife

Many Lowcountry landowners have existing natural stands of pines, hardwoods and pine-hardwood mixtures. Most are not interested in practicing intensive, plantation-based forest management but have a keen desire to maintain existing stands and improve wildlife habitat. The following management recommendations are based on years of management activity on Lowcountry plantations that are managed primarily for wildlife with timber income of secondary importance.

Wildlife Damage Management

Wildlife damage management, regardless of the problems species, has four basic components: 1) problem definition (identification and assessment of damage), 2) an understanding of the behavior and ecology of the problem wildlife species, 3) selection and application of control techniques, and 4) evaluation of control efforts.

Wildlife Food Plantings

There are 3 ways that landowners, managers and sportsmen can improve the quality and availability of wildlife foods. One method includes protecting existing high value native wildlife food plants that already exist. Secondly, managers can enhance and stimulate the growth of native vegetation by mechanical (timber thinning, strip disking, mowing, prescribed burning) and chemical (herbicides, fertilizers and lime) means. A third way is to propagate desired wildlife food plants by direct seeding or seedling planting, which is often called supplemental planting with food plots.

Wildlife and Wildlife Management

The term wildlife means different things to different people. To a backyard wildlife enthusiast, it may mean chickadees, nuthatches, and cardinals. To a hunter, it may mean white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, and gray squirrels. To a sheep producer, it may mean coyotes. To a poultry producer, it may mean mink, weasels, skunks, and raccoons. To a gardener, it may mean hummingbirds and butterflies.

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