Black-throated Blue Warbler by Megumi Aita
Working Lands

Landscape-scale Forest Restoration Grant for Land Trusts

Black-throated Blue Warbler. Photo: Megumi Aita

Much of Connecticut’s forested land is relatively uniform in age and lacks structural diversity. Also, very little of our forest is in an early successional stage (0-20 years). Bird species that thrive in diverse-aged stands, or in patches of very young forest, are increasingly short of habitat. Some species are in sharp decline.

Carefully planned forest cuts, either to create patches of early successional forest or create small openings in a uniform-aged older stand, can enhance bird diversity and the overall biodiversity of our forests. Cuts may also provide income for landowners that need resources for land management.

Audubon Connecticut has been awarded a U.S. Forest Service grant to work with land trusts to identify areas where cuts would be ecologically appropriate; to provide habitat assessments and Forest Habitat Management Guides at no cost; and to provide initial technical assistance for implementing the Guide’s recommendations.

Grant Purpose

  • Improve habitat for focal bird species by diversifying the physical structure of key forest blocks.
  • Manage forest landholdings with reference to the larger landscape context.
  • Explore a model of funding land stewardship through land management for bird habitat.

The parameters of this grant are fairly specific. Please read carefully to see whether it’s a good fit for your circumstances.

This opportunity is primarily for land trusts who own a parcel comprising 40 or more acres of mainly mature, even-aged forest, and who would at least consider modest removals of trees to improve bird habitat, benefit wildlife, and improve forest health and biodiversity.  Net income (if any) from tree removal would be expected to fund other land management measures on any of the land trust’s properties.

Eligible parcels will be selected through a competitive application process that takes into consideration the ecological risks and benefits of active management on any given parcel. Land trusts whose applications are funded will have the services of a forester and Audubon staff at no charge. The forester and Audubon staff will work closely with the land trust in advance, to understand the land trust’s overall management goals for the property. Then the forester will assess the parcel’s forest stands, incorporate input on bird habitat from Audubon staff, and prepare a Bird Habitat Management Guide. The Guide can complement an existing forest management plan, or serve as a stand-alone guideline.

Ideally, any cutting recommendations would be implemented by the land trust within a year of receiving the Guide. Any subsequent land management funded by timber income would also be implemented within a reasonable time frame.

Timeline

Spring/Summer 2019: Participants and parcels are selected in a competitive application process.

2019-2020: With the landowner, Audubon Connecticut and a consulting forester discuss management goals, assess eligible properties for bird habitat, and develop a Forest Habitat Management Guide. This service is provided at no cost to the land trust.

2020-2022: Land trusts implement cuts to diversify age classes of trees, subject to breeding season restrictions, soil conditions, and logger availability. Some initial technical assistance provided as needed, by Audubon or forester. Net timber income goes to the land trust and is understood to be for land stewardship on any property the land trust owns.

2020-2022: Income from tree harvest (if any) is used for stewardship measures on land trust properties, as determined by the land trust.

Apply

To apply, please complete and submit an application by June 30, 2019.

You may use the online application below, or

Select here to print the application. You may scan and email the completed application to efielding@audubon.org; or mail the completed application to:

Eileen Fielding
Audubon CT Team Leader, Eastern Forests
Sharon Audubon Center
325 Cornwall Bridge Road
Sharon, CT 06069

Please note that the number of habitat assessment applicants often exceeds our ability to assist all interested landowners. Chosen applicants will be notified in May.

Select here if you wish to open the online application in a new browser window.

BEFORE YOU GET STARTED: Please review the form and be sure you have all the documents and info you'll need to complete the online form. The online form DOES NOT SAVE as you go and will not allow you to save and come back to it later.