Written by Shawn Swartz
The Forest Stewards Guild is pleased to announce that we have received funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation as part of their Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Project, created to restore forest and freshwater habitat for central Appalachian wildlife. Central Appalachia boasts some of the most biologically diverse, temperate deciduous forests in the United States. Some of the wildlife benefitted by this project including ruffed grouse, brook trout, hellbender, and forest birds. The Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Project will enable more than 40 different landowners to improve management on more than 1,100 acres of public and private forests and monitor bird populations on 18,000 acres of forests.
The funding will allow the Forest Stewards Guild to increase awareness, capacity, and acreage for bird-friendly forestry in Central Appalachia. Our team will develop a dynamic forest plan across 5,000 acres of privately-owned forest in West Virginia. Three new demonstration sites will be developed on this forest block and will serve as hubs for 5 outreach and technical training opportunities for landowners, practitioners, and future practitioners. This training will increase capacity by training both potential and current NRCS technical service providers. The dynamic forest block will further serve as the landscape for connectivity mapping and bird occupancy mapping, which will be incorporated into an ArcGIS StoryMap that will be pivotal in effective landowner and practitioner outreach and training. Our team will develop a forest management plan template that will increase efficiency and capacity for wildlife forestry in Central Appalachia and that will connect landowners to cost share through NRCS.
The Forest Stewards Guild is proud to have received this award and is excited to work with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation along with the many other partners involved in the project to increase the environmental, economic, and social health and resilience of the Central Appalachian Forests.