Conservation of biological diversity on managed forests of the Southeastern U.S. – Issues and Opportunities
Managed pine forests cover approximately 15.8 million hectares in the southeastern U.S., representing an important component of the landscape. Decades of research have clearly established conservation value of managed pine forests, including species of conservation concern. This value to biodiversity is maintained due to silvicultural practices that promote diverse plant communities, forest stands in different successional stages, and interspersion of non-intensively managed habitat conditions on the landscape. Additionally, increased forest productivity from these landscapes reduces pressure on natural forest for provision of wood products. Conservation value of managed pine landscapes depend on multiple factors such as desired product, landscape context, silvicultural regimes (e.g., stocking density, rotation length, vegetation management), and ownership philosophy. Limitations within managed pine landscapes relative to biological diversity include loss of natural forests, reduction in dead wood resources, short rotation lengths, stand structure, and increased economic pressure to deliver value. It is important for managers to integrate goals for conservation of biological diversity into forest management plans. Forest certification systems provide an efficient vehicle for delivering such goals as part of sustainable forestry.
Dr. Darren A. Miller, Certified Wildlife Biologist® and Science Advisor, has been employed by Weyerhaeuser for over 16 years and manages Weyerhaeuser’s Southern Environmental Research Program and Sustainable Biomass Platform. He received a B.S. in Wildlife Management from Eastern Kentucky University (1991) and a M.S. in Wildlife Ecology (1993) and a Ph.D. in Forest Resources (1997), with an emphasis in wildlife ecology, from Mississippi State University. Dr. Miller is Past- President of the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network and the Southeastern Section of The Wildlife Society. He is currently the Southeastern Section Representative to the governing Council of The Wildlife Society. Dr. Miller has nearly 80 peer-reviewed publications on a wide diversity of topics and taxa. He is also adjunct faculty at 4 universities, having served on over 25 graduate student committees. Dr. Miller resides in Starkville, MS with his wife and 2 daughters.
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