Private, Working Forests and Biodiversity in the Southeastern United States
Given that nearly 90% of forests in the southeastern US are privately owned, it is important to understand their conservation value. Biodiversity response to active forest management varies by species and is often influenced by past land use and surrounding landscape features, and must be considered at both stand and landscape scales. Young stands provide important early successional conditions, while older stands support species associated with more mature forest conditions. Even-aged harvest regimes result in stands of a single age. However, retained features within and/or near these stands, such as streamside management zones, conservation biotopes, green (i.e., live) trees, and snags (i.e., dead, standing trees), often provide additional structure supporting biodiversity. Some wildlife species require special management for their needs to be met within private, working forest landscapes. A variety of stand ages and conditions across a landscape provide structural characteristics that provide habitat for a diversity of species. Thus, a landscape of actively managed stands contributes to conservation of biological diversity, as summarized herein.