Managing from a landscape perspective: A Guide for Integrating Forest Interior Bird Habitat Considerations and Forest Management Planning in the Driftless Area of the Upper Mississippi River Basin, Version 1.1

David C Wilson, Hannah Texler, Jaime Edwards, Bruce Ehrsman, Marlene Ehrsman, Jon Stravers, Ric Zarwell, John Nielsen, Bill Carlson, Brad Hutnik, Joe Kovach, Michael Mossman, Yoyi Steele, Andy Paulios, Ann Pierce, Melinda Knutson, Tex Hawkins

Research output: Working paper

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This guide explores forest management planning as it relates to the habitat needs of forest dependent neotropical migratory birds. This guide was developed through the cooperative effort of foresters, wildlife specialists and ecologists in the 4-state Driftless Area with the objective of enhancing forest health and bird habitat by recognizing the interrelationships between birds and forests. Management recommendations are intended to address forest types typical of the Drifltess Area including oak and central, northern, and bottomland hardwood. It is our hope that this document will provide a framework for holistic forest management in a landscape with regional, national, and global significance.

The Driftless Area plays an important role in the lives of many bird species. The Mississippi River Flyway, including the Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Refuge, is a vital migration corridor for more than half of North America’s bird species. The Refuge bisects the Driftless Area and connects it directly to global bird populations. Much of the steep, rugged landscape escaped development and continues to support some of the region’s most extensive forests, providing significant habitat opportunities for forest interior birds.
This guide was developed to provide a tool to assist management planning in heavily forested landscapes where habitat for interior forest dependent bird species is a priority. In the planning process, it is important to consider the surrounding landscape, and develop plans that include appropriate wildlife and ecosystem goals. It is also important to consider the potential results of taking no action. Management actions should be guided by a property specific plan taking into account long-term forest regeneration goals, regional habitat goals, landowner objectives, the threat of invasive non-native species, and other factors.
This document identifies forest interior habitat potential within the Driftless Area based on a model modified from Knutson et al. (2001). This model provides a simplified representation of the landscape and may not identify some sites that do provide high quality forest interior habitat. Potential interior forest habitat quality is rated in tables and regional maps that can be used to help guide planning for individual properties with reference to their landscape context.

This document attempts to integrate the best available understanding of forest interior bird habitat needs with existing silvicultural tools and knowledge. However, very little systematically gathered and analyzed information currently exists to link management actions with bird population responses over time. Management activities should, therefore, be approached in an adaptive fashion. Information gained through monitoring and experience should guide future management plans. This document will be revised as new information and understanding becomes available. The most recent version of these management recommendations can be found online at www.driftlessareainitiative.orgThis org.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherDriftless Area Initiative
Number of pages54
StatePublished - Sep 30 2008


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