Woods & Wildlife
31 December 2007
Virginia Cooperative Extension, Charlottesville/Albemarle County Office
460 Stagecoach Road, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
phone: 434.872.4580 fax: 434.872.4578
I hope everyone had at least a little time off this past year to enjoy with family, friends, and the great outdoors. Often we are too busy with our daily lives to take a hike in the woods and/or observe wildlife in our surroundings. Bringing people together for the holidays is a great excuse to go birding or simply take a hike in the woods. Many of us in this area are stewards of a piece of these woods and so this is also a good opportunity for us to observe and understand what changes are taking place and why.
Our forests make a vital contribution to our state and beyond by providing economic, consumer, environmental and aesthetic benefits essential to our quality of life. Because the majority of Virginia's forests are owned by private forest landowners, the collective decisions of forest owners like you will determine the ability of future generations to enjoy these same benefits.
Sustainable forestry consists of those forest practices that meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Specifically, sustainable forestry integrates the regeneration, growing, nurturing, and harvesting of trees for useful products while conserving soil, air, and water quality, wildlife and fish habitat, and landscape aesthetic quality.
Examples of sustainable forestry practices include:
- minimizing the impact of forest management activities on water quality
- tree planting or natural regeneration immediately following a timber harvest
- ensuring a non-declining forest land base
- maintaining important habitat elements for wildlife species
- reducing invasive exotic plant species and pests
- protecting special areas and rare habitats
While your objectives for owning forest land may vary over time, sooner or later most landowners decide to harvest timber. Timber harvesting is a powerful forest management tool, but must be used thoughtfully to ensure the sustainability of all your forest resources. It is important that you understand how forest management activities impact the sustainability of your forest and what steps you can take to ensure your goals are met within the context of good forest stewardship.
Managed forests provide an abundance of resources other than timber including wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, alternative income opportunities, and sites with special biologic and historical significance. While some areas of your forest may need to be set aside as special "hands-off" areas, careful planning and active management will allow you to combine many of your goals within the same forest stands.
If you are interested in finding out more about your forestry and wildlife resources please consider attending the 6th Annual Landowner Woods & Wildlife Conference Feb 16, 2008 in Charlottesville. This all day conference is a great place to meet various natural resource professionals, learn something about taking good care of your woodland, and meet other like-minded landowners.
The conference provides a mix of basic, emerging, and traditional forest management sessions including Human Wildlife Conflict, Working with Loggers, Land Conservation Tools, Shortleaf Pine Restoration, Timber Harvesting Effects on Wildlife, and Birds of the Piedmont, to mention a few. The day will appeal to large and small acreage landowners alike.
To learn more about this conference content or registration information, please go to http://info.ag.vt.edu/vce/offices/webinfo/files/Tri-foldBrochure.pdf to download a brochure. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. The registration deadline is February 6. If you have any problems with the above link please call or e-mail Sandra Lillard (540)948-6881 [email protected]) to request a brochure be sent to you.
For more information about this and other landscape topics contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office. The local Virginia Cooperative Extension office numbers are Albemarle 872-4580, Fluvanna 591-1950, Greene 985-5236, Louisa 540-967-3422, and Nelson 263-4035.