American Forest Foundation recently issued a new report focused on woodland wildlife habitat in 13 Northeastern states. Woodlands in these states were found to be “out of balance” due to historical land use and provide insufficient wildlife habitat.

These 13 Northeastern states from Maine to West Virginia comprise the most heavily-forested region in the country. Almost two-thirds of the region is dominated by forestland, 50.5% of which is family-owned forests.

AFF surveyed 20,000 family woodland owners. Out of 1,400 responses, 85% said that protecting and improving wildlife habitat is an important reason that they own their land. Currently less than 50% are actively managing for wildlife habitat and 90% acknowledge that they could do more.

In this region the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that there are currently 37 wildlife species at risk of extinction, 13 of which depend on healthy forest habitat to survive. AFF is partnering with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to create a $7.2 million grant program to guide family forest owners towards achieving their goal to help wildlife.

“AFF’s report shows that through active stewardship we can ensure our woodlands will be healthy and sustainable for decades to come,” said Ian MacFarlane, Executive Director of the Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters. “If we are serious about protecting our woodlands and the wildlife that depend on them, we need to encourage and support the work of family forest owners as uncovered in the report. State Foresters across the region look forward to working with AFF to deliver on these report findings together.”

From the National Association Of State Foresters: