West Virginia, with 78 percent of its land area covered by forests, is the third most densely wooded state in the nation behind Maine and New Hampshire. Its timber resources are larger in size than they have been for the past 100 years. Although West Virginia’s forests and forest products have great economic importance, they also provide recreational opportunities, scenic views, fresh air and clean water.
Most importantly, these forests provide invaluable habitat (for unfamiliar terms see Glossary starting on page 33) for thousands of plants and animals. Seeing and conserving wildlife are among the most cited reasons landowners give for owning, maintaining and managing their land.
Realizing that their woodlots are mature and have substantial value, many landowners are considering a harvest but are concerned about how the harvest will affect wildlife. This publication examines the relationship between harvesting intensity and its effect primarily on songbirds, although the impacts on other wildlife is mentioned as well. We hope that the West Virginia Songbird Forest Management Guidelines will give landowners and land managers the additional information they need to develop comprehensive land management plans that meet
not only silvicultural and aesthetic expectations, but also provide healthy and diverse forests to be passed on to succeeding generations.