Contributions of Intensively Managed Forests to the Sustainability of Wildlife Communities in the South

T. Bently Wigley (Presenter), National Council for Air and Stream
Improvement, Inc.

William M. Baughman, Westvaco Corporation

Michael E. Dorcas, Davidson College

John A. Gerwin, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

J. Whitfield Gibbons, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory

David C. Guynn, Jr., Clemson University

Richard A. Lancia, North Carolina State University

Yale A. Leiden, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory

Michael S. Mitchell, U.S. Geological Survey Biological Resources Division

Kevin R. Russell, Willamette Industries, Inc.

Wildlife communities in the South are increasingly influenced by land use changes associated with human population growth and changes in forest management strategies on both public and private lands.  Management of industry-owned landscapes typically results in a diverse mixture of habitat types and spatial arrangements that simultaneously offers opportunities to maintain forest cover, address concerns about fragmentation, and provide habitats for a variety of wildlife species.  We report here on several recent studies of breeding bird and herpetofauna communities in industry-managed landscapes in South Carolina.  Study landscapes included the 8,100-ha GilesBay/Woodbury Tract, owned and managed by International Paper Company, and 62,363-ha of the Ashley and Edisto Districts, owned and managed by Westvaco Corporation.  Breeding birds were sampled in both landscapes from 1995-1999 using point counts, mist netting, nest searching, and territory mapping.  A broad survey of herpetofauna was conducted during 1996-1998 across the Giles Bay/Woodbury Tract using a variety of methods, including: searches of natural cover objects, time-constrained searches, drift fences with pitfall traps, coverboards, automated recording systems, minnow traps, and turtle traps.  Herpetofauna communities were sampled more intensively in both landscapes during 1997-1999 in isolated wetland and selected structural classes.  The study landscapes supported approximately 70 bird and 72 herpetofaunal species, some of which are of conservation concern.   Habitat structure at both the stand and landscape scale had an important influence on relative abundance of many bird species, while many herpetofauna species were associated with isolated wetlands.  Pine plantations and other habitats within the landscapes appeared to act as population sources for some Neotropical migratory birds.  In general, industry-managed forests can provide important habitats for many species and opportunities to consider landscape design, and thereby contribute to sustaining wildlife communities in the South.

Workshop IV: Terrestrial Ecosystems

Online Paper as PDF, 400 KB

oak leaf cluster, logo of Sustaining Southern Forests

    John M. Pye
a conference sponsored by the Southern Forest Resource Assessment