Allegheny Highlands Focal Landscape

Development of the Allegheny Highlands Focal Landscape

Allegheny Highlands Partnership Meeting held in Bradford, PA.

Selected for both its value to wildlife and importance to the forest products sector, this region offers a unique opportunity to work across sectors to promote win-win solutions to forest health and biodiversity issues. AMJV hosted our first partnership workshop for this focal landscape in Bradford, PA in Fall 2022 with the goal of identifying shared conservation challenges and priorities to advance cohesive, landscape-scale planning and management. The meeting was attended by local land managers, foresters, biologists, forest industry professionals, and other stakeholders with the expertise and vision to help us in building a coalition around the new focal landscape.


Overcoming Barriers to Conservation Success

During the partnership meeting, the group shared priorities for their work in the region, the challenges they face in that work, and the tools, resources, and partnerships they’d like to have to help overcome those challenges. To help build capacity to address these challenges, AMJV is facilitating conservation priority teams to focus and drive our work in this region. Each team focuses on one of the conservation priorities that our partners identified during the discussion at the partnership meeting:

  • Private Landowner Resources: Create tools for private lands engagement and management such as a listing of agency roles/programs and a Call Before You Cut program.
  • Contractor Availability: Build capacity for forest management in the region through technical and business training for students and contractors in related fields.
  • Public Lands Management Capacity: Increase funding and capacity to advance forest management goals on public lands through collaboration with non-profit partners.
  • Reviving Wood Product Markets: Identify strategies to increase commercially viable harvest opportunities in the region.
  • Interagency Coordination: Improve coordination among federal and state agencies by establishing roles and workflows that complement each other to reduce redundancies and increase information sharing (especially spatial).
  • Management Guidance Materials: Develop materials to meet partnership’s needs for management planning and implementation guidance.


Current Projects

Focused Planning and Management: To help focus planning and management on the ground within the focal landscape, our partners at Audubon New York and Audubon Mid-Atlantic have established Forest Bird Conservation Centers. Similar to the Dynamic Forest Restoration Blocks that have been established in other AMJV focal landscapes, Forest Bird Conservation Centers are large (5,000+ acre) landscapes designed foster lasting partnerships that improve forest health by improving forest age diversity and structural complexity to meet the needs of birds and other wildlife. Centers bring together partners with a variety of objectives to illustrate how landowners and managers can achieve their goals while creating high quality habitat for forest birds. In the New York, a 10,000 acre Forest Bird Conservation Center is being developed in partnership with Lyme Timber Company and NYS DEC, which will demonstrate different forest habitats needed by priority birds and highlight the importance of forest age class diversity and complex structural characteristics needed to provide quality habitat of a full suite of forest birds. In Pennsylvania, two 5,000+ acre Forest Bird Conservation Centers are in development in partnership with Lyme Timber Company, Elk State Forest, Bradford City Water Authority, the Allegheny National Forest, and PA Game Commission. In both Pennsylvania and New York, conservation activities on private forestland are key to the success of Forest Bird Conservation Centers.

Bird-Friendly Forestry Training Opportunities: Increasing forest management for birds requires trained consultants and contractors to plan and implement forest management. One of the ways focal landscape partners are helping to build capacity is by offering training programs on bird-friendly forestry. Audubon New York and Audubon Mid-Atlantic offer trainings that introduce foresters to priority species and how forest management techniques can be used to improve habitat for them, while still meeting timber production and regeneration goals. In New York, foresters who complete this training and meet other requirements are eligible to become certified through Audubon New York’s Forester Training and Endorsement Program.

Focal Landscape Partners

Audubon Mid-Atlantic and Audubon New York are the lead partners for this focal landscape. Other partners include:

New York Natural Resources Conservation Service

PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of State Parks

Pennsylvania Game Commission

PA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Ruffed Grouse Society

PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry

New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation


USDA Forest Service


Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group

The Nature Conservancy

National Wild Turkey Federation


Additional Resources

Allegheny Highlands Fact Sheet

Focal Landscape Map

Focus on Focal Landscapes: Allegheny Highlands (PA/NY) (Spring 2023)

Partner Spotlight: Allegheny Hardwoods Utilization Group (AHUG) (AMJV Newsletter-Spring 2023)

Landowner Highlight: Mike and Laura Jackson (AMJV Newsletter – Spring 2023)