Celebrate Maine Forest Products Week by enjoying trees

By Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

Look around you now. How much of what you see is dependent upon trees? From baseball bats to lumber for home building, to the nuts & syrups that enrich our diets, and the less obvious uses in Parmesan cheese, perfume and cosmetics, plus the oxygen we breathe and the shade we enjoy, trees contribute so much to our lives. They are necessary to our survival and quality of life. They are also important to other animals and plants.

A tree can serve directly or indirectly as a food source. Examples:

• Ruffed grouse eat the winter buds of Maine’s aspens: big-toothed (Populus grandidentata) and quaking (Populus tremuloides);

• Bears eat the nuts of American beech (Fagus grandifolia);

• Red squirrels feed on the seeds from a variety of conifers found in Maine’s forests;

• Pileated woodpeckers feed on carpenter ants; and

• Bay-breasted warblers feed on insects, spiders, and spruce budworm larvae found in and on trees.<a

In addition to food resources, trees serve as cover or shelter to many species of wildlife. Whether it’s a series of stands of conifers providing shelter for white-tailed deer during winter, a black-capped chickadee which lays its eggs and raises young in a cavity inside a tree, or a silver-haired bat finding a daytime roost under the loose bark of a maple (Acer spp.), trees are used by wildlife for a variety of shelter needs.

Trees serve as places to find mates, raise young, and provide shelter from weather and predators. In the case of the Edward’s Hairstreak, a small butterfly, the species uses scrub oak as a place to perch and wait for females and the opportunity to reproduce.

Management of forests doesn’t preclude them from being wildlife habitat. It can even help create the conditions needed for specific species to thrive.

Foresters, biologists and equipment operators identify trees with important characteristics, such as a cavity with potential to become a site for mammals and birds to raise their young, or an American beech with a full and nut-producing canopy which will serve as a food resource for years to come. Foresters and biologists work together to determine where and when to harvest forests based on the needs of one or more wildlife species.

A management goal might be to create a diversity of age and size structure of trees within the home range of the wildlife, and a harvest might be delayed until the adjacent area meets their habitat needs. Whether it’s actively managing for all the habitat needs of a given species of wildlife, or providing a missing component of the habitat, forest management can be used as a tool to accomplish the goal.

The Bureau of Parks and Lands practices Sustainable Forest Management:

• Scientifically-based timber harvests support land management activities and are planned in coordination with recreation, wildlife, forest health, and scenic considerations.

• Revenues from certified sustainable forestry timber sales help to pay for trails, campsites, roads and other infrastructure and wildlife management projects.

• Harvesting is conducted by private contractors under the supervision of Public Lands Foresters.

• The Bureau’s forest practices are third-party certified to two independent standards: the Forest Stewardship Council® and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative®.

Celebrate Maine Forest Products Week by:

• Visiting one of Maine’s Public Lands (Brochure 3MB PDF)

• Helping Solve the Mystery of Maine Forest Products Week

• Purchasing the Forest Trees of Maine book by the Maine Forest Service.

(Photos of Public Lands top to bottom: Attean Pond, Tunk Lake, Big Spencer Mt., and Seboeis Logging Operation.)

(Forestry Management content contributed by Sarah Spencer, IF&W Wildlife Biologist & Resource Management Specialist for the Bureau.)