Resource Management

Bottomland Hardwoods - 512 x 285

Habitat management programs are implemented to meet conservation objectives for migratory and resident wildlife, as well as native plant communities.


As additional land is acquired within Refuge boundaries, various management techniques are used by Complex staff to achieve optimal wildlife habitat conditions. Much of the land available for purchase by Refuges has been farmed in the past and usually requires reforestation. A variety of native tree species are planted based on elevation, topography, and water levels. As trees mature and on other forests throughout the Refuge Complex, management activities include timber harvest. Timber harvest for forest management is currently conducted Complex wide in accordance with an approved Forest Management Plan that is designed to meet wildlife habitat objectives. The plan emphasizes activities that protect, restore, and manage the functions and values of the forest to support viable populations of native flora and fauna, consistent with sound biological principles. Priority is given to management activities for federal trust species such as migratory birds. Forest management prescriptions include timber stand improvement, commercial timber harvest, and reforestation. Habitat manipulations would be conducted primarily through commercial timber harvests of surplus forest products. The sale and disposition of forest products would comply with open market rules and formal bid solicitations.

Individual forest stands are inventoried, timber harvest prescriptions developed, and timber harvest operations carried out in a manner that will accomplish the forest habitat management objectives for migratory birds, threatened or endangered species, and resident wildlife. Timber marking operations will select trees that would be harvested by commercial timber and pulpwood operators. Trees may also be removed through timber stand improvement operations or by permittees when commercial sales are not feasible.

Forest management operations are directed at providing more vertical diversity throughout the overstory, midstory, understory, and ground flora. Favoring trees of varying ages and sizes, including some of the largest dominants within each forest block, will promote the habitat requirements of forest-dwelling birds and other resident wildlife. Forest conditions following timber harvest are more beneficial to wildlife as harvest operations can help restore the functions and values typically associated with bottomland hardwood forests historically occurring throughout the region.

Trapping Occurs on this Refuge

Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the refuge manager for specific regulations. Click here for more information on trapping within the National Wildlife Refuge System.