Wood Duck Deforestation

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Bottomland hardwood forests are home to several wildlife species. As mentioned earlier, the destruction of their habitat has had some negative effects on their population status. Some species such as the bachman’s warbler (Vermivora bachmanii) and the ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus prinicipalis) suffered greatly. Bachman’s warbler, a species that bred in swampy areas along rivers is probably extinct, with the last confirmed sighting in the United States in 1988 (Wilcove and Terborgh 1984, USFWS). The ivory-billed woodpecker, a species that exists exclusively in the bottomland hardwood forests, has been presumed extinct until recently when a single male was rediscovered in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe County,…show more content…
Market hunting was big during this time. There were little to no restrictions and no enforcement on how many birds one could take during the 7 month waterfowl hunting season (usually September through April). The wood duck suffered greater losses than any other duck. The Labrador duck (Camptorhyncos labradorius) also suffered heavy losses and became extinct but, relative to the wood duck, its population levels were already low at the time of European settlement and market hunting (Dutcher 1891). Hunting, coupled with the extensive deforestation of their habitat for farm ground, severely crippled the wood ducks population. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act allowed for the complete protection of the wood duck and placed limits on hunting the species (Bellrose 1976). Protection from hunters, conservation of remaining habitat, and the development of the wood duck nest box, led to one of the best comeback stories in North American wildlife history. By 1941, 14 states allowed the take of 1 wood duck per hunter, and by the mid 1960s, wood ducks ranked second or third in the bags of hunters from the Mississippi and…show more content…
These reservoirs are created by building levees around forests and then flooding them, making acorns and other seeds available to waterfowl (Batema and Frederickson 2006). Leaf litter provides a substrate for invertebrates, a major food source for wintering waterfowl (Baldassarre and Bolen 2006). Early in the development of GTRs, managers believed it necessary to flood them early in the fall and hold water on them until early spring. Flooding the trees during the dormant season and withdrawing that water before they come out of dormancy does not kill the trees, but allows them to survive while providing adequate habitat for wintering waterfowl (Batem and Fredrickson). Within the first 10 years of GTR management, researchers observed benefits of the flooding regime. These benefits included an increase in acorn production, increase in diameter of tree trunks, protection of the forest stand from fire, and an increase in duck usage. Because natural flooding regimes vary throughout the year, suitable habitat availability may be minimal at times. Flooding GTRs from September to March provided wintering waterfowl with habitat that they may not be able to find elsewhere. However, after 10 or more years of flooding, the benefits that were being observed began to wane. Acorn production, tree growth, and regeneration began to

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