State-Owned Forest Land Slated For Wildlife Habitat Improvement

The Department of Conservation is planning a forestry project for the state park property within Little River Wildlife Management Area to improve wildlife habitat by stimulating the growth of ground vegetation. The project is scheduled to take place within the coming months. The property is managed jointly by the State Parks and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Divisions.

A program to explain more details of this project is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., Tuesday night, October 11, 2005, at DeSoto State Park Lodge. The public is invited to attend.

Trees will be selectively harvested to thin the timber. Competing trees will be cut, removed and utilized for timber, paper and mulch products. The thinned forests will be maintained in an open condition by use of periodic control burns by Conservation personnel. Proper forest management will allow the remaining trees to reach full potential.

The treatment area lies about three miles south of DeSoto State Park and is accessible by existing jeep trails through the WMA. A contract will be publicly advertised, opened and competitively awarded. The logging contractor will then have six months to complete the operation.

Forest management is necessary to improve wildlife habitat by opening up the forest canopy, subsequently allowing sunlight to reach  the ground. This allows native grasses, forbs, shrubs and trees to develop. The vegetation changes resulting from the timber harvest and prescribed fires will provide improved food, cover, and nesting habitat for a variety of wildlife species. The existing wildlife populations on the WMA should receive immediate benefits.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.