In spite popular beliefs, clear cutting of trees does come with advantages, so the Canada lynx is being given a hand in surviving by wildlife conservationists attempting to recreate the conditions that are the most ideal for the winter felines.
The thick-furred cats have been reported to have a surprisingly large population in Maine, and state officials wish to keep it that way. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service are trying to secure a future for the between 500 to 1,000 Canada lynx roaming about the forests by properly regulating the clear cutting of the woods that provide the spruce and fir essential to the life of snowshoe hares.
The rabbit often makes its home among the need-like leaf trees, and it’s the lynx’s main food source. Their existence, however, is being threatened by the harsher restrictions that forbid clear cutting after a crisis in 1989. The 1970s and the 1980s have seen to an outbreak of spruce budworms, a pest which had led officials to a massive clear cutting of the woods to prevent their spreading.
The thickets left behind had been the perfect habitat for snowshoe hare, which in turn provided more food for the Canada lynx, but both populations are now placed in danger due to the harsher regulations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife are now trying to implement a controlled program of cutting down old, mature tree that pose as a risk of wildfire and disease alike.
The young spruce and fir to sprout after them will provide an excellent home for the snowshoe rabbit, which will hopefully once again thicken through the woods of Maine. According to forester, Scott Joachim, the goal is to provide the hares with a thicket of young trees, and see them once again populate the woods come winter.
In essence, they’re attempting to provide a better home for the lynx’s main food source.
The decline in their habitat could lead to a 60% loss in the state’s lynx population within the next 14 years if nothing is done. The U.S Fish and Wildlife are now working with four private property owners that amount to around 600,000 acres of woodlands, which could be turned into an excellent habitat for both the lynx and its natural prey.
Landowners will be compensated through the Healthy Forest Reserve Program for providing better homes for the endangered animal and developing plans that would help preserve the lynx’s population. They are a crucial part of the ecosystem, as they hunt rapidly reproducing animals, such as the aforementioned hares, and are becoming a rare appearance in the United States.
Forest management is necessary to maintain a balance of the old of the new, preserve the habitat of animals, along with avoiding certain risks that can sprout due to old and dying trees.
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