The need for a mosaic of forest types is clear. Not only does this mimic the forest conditions of New Jersey prior to European settlement, but it is also crucial for the survival of New Jersey’s wildlife. The habitat use of many bird species changes throughout their life history. For example, the Wood Thrush breeds in closed canopy forests but brings their fledglings into open habitat to forage; Golden-winged Warbler breeds in open areas and brings their fledglings in closed canopies forests with a robust shrub layer. A forest with a mosaic of different structures, age classes, and plant communities can support a wide variety of wildlife species. It’s estimated that almost 3 billion birds have been lost since 1970 and loss of suitable is one reason behind this decline. With more than 80% of New Jersey’s forests classified as middle-aged and lacking in structure and diversity, forest stewardship that is rooted in science and aims to increase biodiversity is needed now more than ever. New Jersey Audubon supports forest stewardship planning and active forest management.
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