Ecological Forestry

Ecological Forestry

Photo by D. Donnelly, NJA
Photo by Joe Kegley, www.wildlifesouth.com

Although there are a few definitions of the term that differ slightly, for most land managers “ecological forestry” simply means good forestry. A central concept in ecological forestry is the use of silvicultural treatments that mimic natural processes of forest development or regeneration.

Some people may ask why we don’t just wait and let the natural processes develop on their own. An answer to this is that we, as humans, have already drastically altered the means by which forests normally grow. Land use changes, poor past practices, fire exclusion, human-induced wildlife population increases (for instance, white-tailed deer and feral hogs), invasive plant introductions, non-native insects, and diseases all disrupt natural forest development.

At New Jersey Audubon, we see it as our obligation as stewards of the land to be proactive in ensuring that forests remain healthy. Our vision is to implement the principles of ecological forestry at a landscape level across New Jersey. To reach this goal, we have initiated partnerships with other landowners to collectively manage large tracts of forest for sustainability and other non-commodity forest resources. Our forest management projects range from small activities designed to enhance habitat for individual endangered species, up to ecosystem-sized forest restorations that benefit a wide variety of plants and animals.