The Consultant - 2007 - (Page 9)

FEATURE Forest Fragmentation BY JAYSEN HOGUE, STUDENT MSU COLLEGE OF FOREST RESOURCES ITH A GROWING POPULATION of more than six billion people on our planet, the need for expansion in today’s society is increasing. The effects on our landscape during this expansion should concern us. Increasing populations call for growth in residential land use, which breaks the landscape into smaller ownership parcels and leads to forest fragmentation. Managing the fragmented forests is one of the major issues that should concern foresters. Forest fragmentation, by definition, is the breaking up of large continuous forest patches into smaller, isolated patches. Fragmentation can be caused by a variety of expansions, such as clearing for agriculture, roads, timber harvesting, urbanization and commercial development. Temporary forest clearings, as in timber harvesting, are not of great concern because they will regenerate. Permanent fragmentations due to the building of apartment complexes, restaurants, major highways and large industrial sites bring forth a greater concern. Understanding the effects of forest fragmentation is vital to properly managing the future of our forests and wildlife. Fragmentation can produce a variety of effects ecologically, economically and socially. Plant communities often can be changed or altered by fragmentation, which may sometimes threaten the health of the forest community. Certain species of animals may be endangered for reasons such as total habitat area reduction, edge effects, isolation of populations and vulnerability during dispersal to other patches. Fragmentation may reduce the diversity of animal species dwelling within the forests. Wetland habitats may be altered due to new canopy openings. However, with the increase of the forest edge, many animals such as deer, turkey, raccoons and a wide variety W Jaysen Hogue of songbirds can benefit from forest fragmentation. The economic effects of fragmentation may mean that commercial harvesting will become less cost effective. Resistance to timber harvesting may arise due to disappearing forest communities, from environmentalist groups and from our own neighbors. Breaks in the continuity of forest stewardship also may take place. Expansion and fragmentation are inevitable and cannot be stopped. However, our goal should be to make the most of the situation. Our greatest opportunity to produce the best effects from forest fragmentation begins with the forest landowners. Professional foresters and consultants nationwide should be inclined and equipped to educate these landowners about the effects of forest fragmentation and how to best manage their forests for the future. Foresters should inform landowners that fragmentation is a serious issue that can begin in ways that seem harmless and are barely noticeable. Foresters should not discourage people with restrictive regulations, but rather show them other options that better accommodate all aspects involved. Forest fragmentation is just another issue in the growing world of forestry. We cannot work around it. We must work through it and with it to produce the best environments possible. Education is the pathway to success, and as foresters, we should share what we know. G Literature Cited Kays, J. Schultz, V.M. Townsend, P. Forest Landowners in a Fragmented Landscape, Branching Out: Maryland’s Forest Stewardship Educator, Vol. 7, No. 2, Spring 1999. The Process of Habitat Fragmentation, 2006. ( What Is Forest Fragmentation and Why Is It Important? 2006. ( fragmentation.html) THE CONSULTANT 2007 9

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Consultant - 2007

Executive Director’s Message Embracing Change
President’s Message Meeting the Challenge of the Fragmenting Forest
Forest Fragmentation
Parcelization: Different Owners, Different Practices
The New Generation of Private Forest Landowners: Brace for Change
Struggles Facing Wisconsin’s Professional Loggers
Saving Our Forests from a Fragmented Future
Selling the Business: Sequential Planning Versus Parallel Planning
A Survey of Consulting Forestry Education in Accredited Forestry Programs
Returning the American Chestnut to Our Forests
Woody Biomass for Energy – Has Its Time Come?
Meet the New ACF President
ACF Education Committee Looks to the Future
Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens Receives American Chestnut
Mississippi ACF/SAF Student Challenge
ACF National Conference Reflections
Harry Murphy: A Life in Consultation

The Consultant - 2007