The Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture released the Cerulean Warbler Management Guidelines for Appalachian Hardwood Forests last year. Cerulean warblers are commonly associated with large, contiguous forests with old-growth characteristics, and are species of special concern in NJ. They are difficult to see, nesting near the tops of large-diameter white oak, chestnut oak, sugar maple, cherry, locust, elm, and sycamore trees. The species has declined by about 70% since l966. The management guidelines stem from a large-scale study spanning four states.
The management guidelines recommend thinning overstocked stands—particularly in landscapes dominated by forest—to a residual basal area of between 40 and 90 square feet/acre. Thinning should retain preferred nesting tree species while reducing red maple. Individual tree selection systems did not significantly increase population levels, indicating the need for a heavier thinning, principally to increase light levels to the understory and encourage regeneration and other understory vegetation, and also to encourage crown growth in residual trees.
For more information, ask one of us during Farm Tax season. The guidelines for cerulean warblers can be read by clicking here.
(This article was originally written for the Spring 2014 issue of The Cruiser.)