24 June 2009

Importance of Forest Restoration Explained in Ruffed Grouse Publications

"In its continuing efforts to educate sportsmen and other conservationists on the importance of proper forest stewardship and the need for a diversity of both young forest and old forest species, the Ruffed Grouse Society has made available two of its highly regarded publications."

Each article explains changes that have occurred to forests in the eastern U.S., and what this has meant for wildlife, notably birds, that rely on early-successional stages of habitats that will eventually transition into mature forests.

One of the articles is "The Other Silent Spring: Disappearing Birds of Young Forests by Steven Backs, a wildlife research biologist, with the Indiana Fish and Wildlife Department of Natural Resources. The article was featured in the Summer 2009 edition of the Ruffed Grouse Society magazine."

"Three birds [the American woodcock, the ruffed grouse and the whip-poor-will]...are 'coal mine canaries' telling us by their absence that young forest habitats are quickly disappearing," Backs wrote. "Are we listening? Do we hear the emptiness? Will we listen?."

The second publication is newly issued Placing Wildlife at Risk by Ignoring Ecological Principals: The Need to Manage Public Lands," by Dr. Michael Zagata, RGS Executive Director and CEO.

"... many Eastern forest birds dependent on disturbed or early-successional forest or natural disturbance (including pine barrens) are suffering consistent and troubling declines. Those birds in decline include golden-winged warbler, whip-poor-will, prairie warbler, Eastern towhee, and field sparrow, and popular game species such as Northern bobwhite and American woodcock," Dr. Zagata wrote in his eight-page, illustrated report.

The "State of the Birds" report issued a few months ago by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, was an important reference used to prepare this report.

"The RGS urges every upland bird hunter, bird watcher and conservationist to take the time to learn the principals as they relate to the species we care so much about. Too often well meaning individuals and organizations favor mature trees over seedlings and saplings without understanding the consequences."

Both documents are in PDF format.

"Established in 1961 the Ruffed Grouse Society is the one international wildlife conservation organization dedicated to promoting conditions suitable for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and related wildlife to sustain our sport hunting tradition and outdoor heritage."

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