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Northeastern U.S. Forests - More Information

Background information on DU's Northeastern U.S. Forests conservation priority area

Importance to other wildlife

The Northeast Forest region provides a unique forest habitat not found elsewhere in the U.S. and, consequently, supports a varied community of plant and animal species. It is reported that 225 bird species use this area during migration and breeding periods (U.S. Forest Service 1979) and virtually the entire worlds Bicknell's thrush breed on mountaintops in this region. Other important forest birds include the Canada warbler and bay-breasted warbler (IAFWA 1998). This region is also critical habitat to mammals, such as moose and black bear, which require vast areas of wilderness for survival. Lakes, rivers and streams throughout this region provide important habitats for a wide variety of cold and warm water fish, amphibians and reptiles.

Current conservation programs

American black ducks represent an important breeding population in northeastern states, particularly Maine. Black duck populations have declined and not recovered to the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The current approach for black ducks is to protect large blocks of relatively undisturbed breeding habitat in the northeast US forest. Partnerships with state and federal wildlife agencies are being expanded and new partnerships with corporate timber industry are being established to protect and enhance breeding habitat.


  • Work with partners to enhance and protect migration habitat and black duck breeding habitat.
  • Establish habitat protection, GIS planning and outreach programs with the timber industry.
  • Identify and prioritize key research and evaluation needs.


  • Black ducks nest in relatively low densities and prefer large expanses of forested wetlands, especially beaver ponds, for breeding.
  • The northeast forests region remains a stronghold for the black duck.


  • Protect shallow forested and shrub-shrub wetlands and ensure habitat management to promote continued growth of beaver populations, which will result in food production and optimal brood-rearing habitat for waterfowl such as wood ducks, ring-necked ducks, and black ducks.
  • Develop partnerships and management agreements with the forestry and other large private landowners to provide technical and financial assistance for wetland protection, enhancement and management that will benefit breeding black ducks and other waterfowl.
  • Emphasize timber harvest practices that benefit nest site selection (e.g. slash for cover) and provide forest regeneration that allows an adequate beaver occupancy rate throughout major watersheds.
  • Protect important habitats that are vulnerable to loss through acquisition, conservation easement or long-term management agreements through cooperative land protection programs.
  • Increase public awareness of DU’s programs and their benefits to wetlands and wildlife.

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