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State Game Lands should be over 50% young forests

682 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Jlane35
I was just thinking about the discussions we've been having about what percentage of Pennslyvania State Game Lands are in young forest as opposed to what percent should be. The more I think about it, the more I wonder why we shouldn't be pushing to have more than 50% of the SGL in shrub or young forest. Most game species do better in Early Succesional Habitat (ESH) than in pole timber or mature forests. Think about it. The obvious benefactors would be grouse and woodcock, but Deer, Bear, Snowshoe Hare, Rabbits all do better in the young forest / shrub habitat. Turkeys and Squirrel sometimes take advantage of it as well.

I found the following quote regarding the carrying capacity for different forest types for deer.

The PA Game Commission has determined that early successional, or young forests, with a lot of young trees and shrubs, can support 50 deer per forested square mile over winter. Pole-timber stands, or forests in which the trees are between 5 and 11 inches in diameter, provide very little habitat for deer, supporting as few as 5 deer per-forested square mile over winter. Mature forests, which provide good cover for deer and moderate amounts of browse and mast (food), can support about 20 deer per forested square mile over winter.

If the primary purpose of the game lands is the management of habitat for wildlife and provide opportunities for lawful hunting and trapping then why isn't the majority of the game lands property in ESH?
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What is the current splits?

The problem is that people are going to be pissed because its very hard to hunt in early successional. As others have said game lands are less than 1% of land in PA so how much effect is it really going to have. What I would like to see happen is to have more wildlife habitat work take place in state forest land or ANF.
The less than 1% number is a little misleading. SGL may be less than 1% of total land, but I believe it is 5% or more of forested lands.

As for the does it matter? It certainly would for hunting the gamelands. Having 50% in ESH would be about 750,000 acres of ESH where I believe the current number is about 75,000 acres.
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