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Conservation–Protection of forests for wildlife in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley

January 8, 2020

The nearly ubiquitous bottomland hardwood forests that historically dominated the Mississippi Alluvial Valley have been greatly reduced in area. In addition, changes in hydrology and forest management have altered the structure and composition of the remaining forests. To ameliorate the detrimental impact of these changes on wildlife, conservation plans have emphasized restoration to increase interior forest habitat, while presuming negligible loss of extant forest in this ecoregion. Without conservation-protection, however, existing forests are subject to conversion to other uses. We assessed the conservation-protection status of land within the Mississippi Alluvial Valley and found that only 10% of total area was protected. Even so, 28% of extant forest was in the current conservation estate. Based on forest patch area, location, and hydrologic influence, we prioritized the attributed need of forest patches for additional conservation-protection. For forest bird conservation, we found 4712 forest patches warranted consideration for conservation-protection but only 109 of these forest patches met our conservation threshold of >2000 ha of core-forest that was >250 m from an edge. Overall, 35% of the area of forest patches considered for conservation-protection was protected within the conservation estate. However, those forest patches identified as most in need of conservation-protection had <10% of their area protected within the current conservation estate.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Conservation–Protection of forests for wildlife in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley
DOI 10.3390/f11010075
Authors A. Blaine Elliott, Anne Mini, S. Keith McKnight, Daniel J. Twedt
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Forests
Index ID 70207996
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center