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For Release: Monday, November 27, 2017

DEC to Host Public Meeting to Discuss Habitat Management Goals at Doodletown Wildlife Management Area and Young Forest Initiative

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a public meeting to discuss the state's Young Forest Initiative and habitat management goals at the Doodletown Wildlife Management Area (WMA) on Monday, December 4, at 6:00 p.m. at the town of Copake's Park Building/Community Center, 305 Mt. View Road, Copake.

Joining DEC staff will be experts from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Audubon NY, The Nature Conservancy and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry who will present information about the importance of young forests for a number of declining wildlife species in New York State, especially the New England Cottontail. After the presentations, the public will have an opportunity to speak with the assembled experts, including DEC staff.

To provide suitable habitat for the various species that depend on young forests, DEC is planning to undertake forest management techniques at DEC's Doodletown WMA in Columbia County. These techniques include seed tree and shelter wood timber cuts which leave a varied level of mature trees remaining for cover and a seed source for regeneration. The creation of openings in the forest canopy will allow a dense understory of herbaceous plants, shrubs and tree seedling/saplings to become established, habitat that is required by the target species at Doodletown WMA. Having diverse age classes of vegetation within forest stands results in healthier, more resilient forests by mimicking the conditions created after natural disturbances such as forest fires, wind storms or drought.

Young forest is created after a disturbance occurs within a forested habitat or by allowing grasslands, shrublands or abandoned farm fields to revert to forest. Young forest habitat is comprised of a vast diversity of plants including grasses, wildflowers, vines, shrubs and tree seedlings and saplings. Wildlife needs all types of habitat to survive, including young forest. Young forest habitat is important to a host of different wildlife species; those that depend on young forest habitat, such as New England Cottontail, golden-winged warbler and American woodcock, and those that utilize and benefit from young forest habitat such as wood turtle, black bear, bobcat, raptors, woodland songbirds and pollinators.

DEC, along with federal natural resources agencies, private conservation organizations, universities, and 18 other Northeastern and Midwestern states are undertaking cooperative steps to create patches of young forest through timber cuts and other forest management techniques, called the Young Forest Project.

For more information about DEC's Young Forest Initiative visit DEC's website.

Click the link for more information about the multi-state cooperative Young Forest Project, (leaves DEC website).

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