Department seeks additional input on forest management for wildlife

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is seeking additional public input about forest management and restoration of woodland species such as grouse.

A recent series of public meetings on the topic included a survey for attendees to complete afterward. The department has placed this survey online to gather more input from those who were not able to attend the public sessions. The survey is located on the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at

“We had about 200 people attend our three meetings,” said Small Game Biologist John Morgan. “The response was overwhelmingly positive. People were happy to see us in their communities and our interest in hearing what they had to say.”

Kentucky officials are using public input to build the framework of a long-term plan to boost populations of grouse and other woodland species in the eastern part of the state. Wisconsin and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation are partnering with Kentucky to help fund habitat work. Kentucky has agreed to supply Wisconsin with 150 elk over the next five years to assist with that state’s effort to boost its small elk herd.

Much of Kentucky’s mature forest in the eastern part of the state lacks diversity and different levels of forest succession. These forests are dominated by red maples as the understory tree species. Maples are not as valuable to wildlife as hickories or oaks. Nuts and acorns produced by hickories and oaks, along with the various other foods and cover produced by different levels of forest succession, provide wildlife with the shelter and nutrition they need to help survive the winter. Deer, bears, elk, turkeys and many other species depend on this food source.

The habitat planning would involve restoring oaks and hickories to the understory for future regeneration as well as providing different levels of forest succession which will promote a diversity of plants and levels of cover beneficial to a multitude of forest species.

Article by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.