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Managing Grasslands, Shrublands, and Young Forest Habitats for Wildlife: A Guide for the Northeast

Edited by:

James D. Oehler
New Hampshire Fish & Game Department

Darrel F. Covell
University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension

Steve Capel
Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries

Bob Long
Maryland Department of Natural Resources


Published by:

The Northeast Upland Habitat Technical Committee
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife


Grasslands, shrublands, and young forest habitats (collectively referred to as early-successional habitats) have been declining throughout the Northeast for decades as have the wildlife species associated with them. For instance, twelve of sixteen shrubland birds and seven of ten grassland birds have declining population trends in the region. Many are listed as threatened or endangered in several northeastern states. Additionally, American woodcock have declined by 40% over the past 30 years, and New England cottontails occur in only 20% of the area that this species was historically found. Given that more than 73% of forestland in the region is privately owned, it is imperative that landowners and the professionals that provide guidance to them help to address the decline of these habitats.


Written primarily by state and federal wildlife biologists and foresters, this guide will provide you with important information on how to maintain and restore these habitats on the lands you own or manage. Whether you are a novice or an experienced land manager, this guide will provide helpful information anyone can use to better manage early-successional habitats.