The forest disturbances described in the last chapter continue to influence the structure and composition of forests. Shift happens. But how contemporary human societies chose to use the forest and manage them for various species has an ever-increasing influence on the structure, function, and composition of forests. Although culturally induced pressures of development, invasive species proliferation, and climate change will continue to determine whether we have forests to use for other purposes, two forest management practices currently have a significant impact on habitat for many species: silviculture and fire management (both fire protection and prescribed burning). Silviculture is the art and practice of managing forest stands to achieve specific objectives for the landowner or land manager. These objectives could include timber production, recreation, habitat for various wildlife and fish species, biodiversity conservation, aesthetics, and nontimber forest products. Indeed many nonindustrial forest landowners in the United States own and manage land for reasons other than timber production. But it is the economic value of the forest that allows many landowners to manage their forests to achieve other objectives. Consequently, managing forest lands for habitat requires a basic understanding of silvicultural principles to be effective in achieving habitat goals. Similarly, foresters charged with recruiting, maintaining, or removing various habitat elements must understand how their silvicultural prescriptions are likely to influence habitat elements.
Wildlife Habitat Management by Brenda C. McComb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.