Northern Young Forest Initiative

The Northern Young Forest Initiative is in Bird Conservation Region 14, the Atlantic Northern Forest. This ecoregion includes most of New England, the Adirondack Mountains of New York, and Atlantic Canada. A stepdown of the Woodcock Conservation Plan for the Northern Forest region outlines habitat goals.

This regional effort was the first of many habitat initiatives throughout the woodcock's range. Biologists and administrators in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wildlife Management Institute launched the Northern Young Forest Initiative in 2004. Since then, more than 30 agencies, organizations, corporations, and individuals have signed on to restore and create woodcock habitat.
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Partners have set up scores of Demonstration Areas to showcase habitat management techniques benefiting woodcock and other young-forest wildlife.

In 2008, the U.S. Department of the Interior gave the partnership its Cooperative Conservation Award. This annual award recognizes cooperative conservation achievements involving collaboration among a diverse range of entities that may include federal, state, and local agencies, private companies, and individuals.

A key reason why this initiative has been successful is that private landowners have been willing to adopt "woodcock-friendly" practices on their land. Noteworthy private landowner partners include Cowls Land and Lumber Company, The Lyme Timber Company, Plum Creek, Inc., Berkshire Natural Resource Council, and the J. D. Irving Company.

Biologists and habitat specialists have developed Best Management Practices (pdf) for creating and maintaining woodcock habitat in the Northern Forest.

There are both effective and ineffective ways to create woodcock habitat. Context of Management gives guidance on where, and where not, to actively manage land for woodcock.