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Forest Management Techniques

Forest Management Techniques include: 

 Inventorying                    Prescribed Fire  
Forest Thinning                Regeneration of a Forest
Management Harvests 




Portions of the refuge are inventoried by sampling (called “cruising”) every year. The data yields a snapshot of that portion of the refuge. Cruise data includes number, species composition, size, and age of the trees. Other information includes the number of den trees, snags, and other forest variables. The cruise data is used to make management decisions for the refuge’s forest habitat.

Prescribed Fire

Prescribed burning is an important tool to manage habitat on the refuge. The regular application of slow-moving fire removes wildfire fuel, reduces invasive vegetation, and encourages plants that wildlife species use for food and cover. Prescribed burning maintains prime red-cockaded woodpeckers nesting trees by limiting competing hardwoods. This establishes conditions similar to the bird’s native habitat, mature pine forest. In an open stand of tall pines, the woodpeckers are more protected from predators and require less foraging territory.  Wild turkey and bobwhite thrive in fire-managed forests. These game birds require open forest, where they nest on the ground and feed on nuts, seeds, insects, and more. Small birds are attracted to lands maintained with fire. The secretive Bachman’s sparrow nests and feeds in mature pine forest and grassy fields. Warblers, buntings, and other Neotropical migratory birds inhabit shrubs bordering burn areas. 

Forest Thinning

promotes forest health by: 

  • Gives remaining trees more sunlight, soil nutrients and moisture
  • Opens up the forest floor to allow wildlife forage and cover plants to grow
  • Allows removal of diseased trees
  • Reduces the spread of bark beetle infestations
  • Improves red-cockaded woodpecker nesting and foraging habitat

Regeneration of a forest

Most mature southern forest trees will live an average age of 100-150 years. The Fish and Wildlife Service wants future generations to have the opportunity to see a well managed forest and its associated wildlife. The Fish and Wildlife Service also has the obligation of maintaining diverse forests for their dependent species of wildlife. A small percentage of the total forest area is used to create regeneration areas every year. Regeneration produces age-class diversity within the forest, which is very beneficial to a multitude of wildlife species.

Management harvests 

The refuge uses contract operators to harvest trees. Contractors are regulated, regarding when, where, and how they will perform the operations. All harvests are conducted to benefit wildlife, habitat, and the public.

Last Updated: Jan 08, 2014
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