Bottomland forests, including riparian corridors, are habitats that are important to both people and wildlife. Logging of timber, mainly cypress trees in more southern states, is an important part of the economy in those areas. This impacts many bird species, including the Prothonotary Warbler, one of our conservation targets. If these important habitats disappear, birds that migrate to our area to nest won’t have critical resting and refueling stopover points.
Instead of harvesting bottomland trees, in our region we more commonly see logging of upland hardwood trees, especially walnuts, oaks, and hickories, which can have an obvious negative impact on birds. For example, creating access roads for logging trucks fragments larger forest habitats, creating more forest edges, which allows Brown-headed Cowbirds to spread and negatively impact interior forest bird species by parasitizing their nests. But proper forest management for timber can actually benefit the landowner and wildlife.
All too often, we see farming in our area that removes the riparian corridor of trees and other native vegetation so that plowing may occur right up to the stream banks, which then allows for more erosion and sedimentation, which degrades the streams. By protecting riparian corridors, farmers will prevent the loss of valuable topsoil - their own land. It will also greatly benefit Prothonotary Warblers and other birds and wildlife. Floating, fishing and other recreational activity on our streams and rivers is becoming an increasingly important part of the economy in many communities, and if these waterways become degraded, they will go elsewhere. It’s in everyone’s best interest to protect what we’ve got, before the damage is done.