Timber harvests may help declining songbirds, West Virginia researcher says

The West Virginia Daily News
February 21, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

Chris Lituma

In the forests of Greenbrier, Fayette and Nicholas counties, three species of concern have West Virginia University researchers’ attention. The golden-winged warbler, the cerulean warbler and the wood thrush — all native to West Virginia — are experiencing significant population declines. Chris Lituma, at Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, is leading a study to learn about the birds’ habitat, which overlaps with 250,000 acres of forestland belonging to Weyerhaeuser Company. …In the project’s early stages, Lituma hypothesized that Weyerhaeuser’s large acreage could support the golden-winged warbler and other species that need young forests. Though timber harvests are not the same as a natural disturbance, they can provide the heavily disturbed patches in the eastern deciduous forest that the species requires. The same may be true for cerulean warblers. … Lituma hopes the research will provide a blueprint for how landowners can maintain their investments while also supporting bird populations.

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