Creating habitat openings in the Cherokee National Forest

From the National Wild Turkey Federation. Interesting use the of Good Neighbor Authority. I don’t know if this is the scoping letter for the project, but if not it’s a similar one. Most folks would have no objection to openings for wildlife habitat; some would object is commercial timber harvesting were involved. This project includes “dropping trees to increase feathering of the edges” but apparently not commercial timber harvesting. Note that “Many spot openings were created by the expansion of log landings following timber harvest.”

The NWTF partnered with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency and the Cherokee National Forest to create habitat openings for wildlife across 1,249 acres in the Tellico and Ocoee districts of the Cherokee National Forest. The NWTF provided tractor implements to achieve these openings.

“There’s a great partnership [with Cherokee National Forest] where the agency is helping manage a lot of linear openings and wildlife fields on the national forest,” said Chris Coxen, NWTF district biologist. “They’re using the Good Neighbor Authority to help get more habitat work accomplished on federal land … We’ve helped them get a lot more work done through the equipment we’ve provided.”

Clearing away overgrown woody plants has allowed more room in the habitat for grasses and other plants beneficial to wildlife to thrive. In addition, mowing has provided open area for wildlife to live and feed.

“They provide habitat for insects that turkeys eat, that deer browse and that other critters nest in,” Coxen said. “Maintaining these areas is good for brood cover, insect foraging and pollinators. It’s kind of a buffet in some of these areas … These linear corridors are some of the only permanent areas like that in some sections of the forest, so it’s important to keep them open.”

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