Forestry for Maine Birds (FFMB) is a new approach to integrating bird conservation with forest management and planning that:
- Improves habitat for priority forest birds and a variety of other wildlife species,
- Engages woodland owners in forest stewardship,
- Works with other forest management goals, and
- Enhances the value and enjoyment of Maine woodlands for many generations to come.
Forestry for Maine Birds works with three key audiences:
- Landowners, who have the potential to create high-quality bird habitat on their woodlots by managing “with birds in mind.”
- Foresters, who have the expertise to create management plans that consider what habitat birds need and how to create it over the long-term.
- Loggers, who implement forest management plans and can improve habitat for birds in how they operate equipment and manage work sites.
Central Maine Project
For landowners in the Lower Kennebec River Watershed, be sure to take a look at our Central Maine FFMB program. This area — also technically identified as the Lower Kennebec Watershed — was identified by our funders, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, as a priority watershed for forest and river conservation projects.
Landowners who complete a quick survey will receive a limited edition vinyl sticker featuring one of the three birds that you might find in your woodland.
The FFMB Guidebook and Resources
The FFMB approach is detailed in the Guidebook for Foresters, published in the Fall of 2017. Although fairly technical and geared toward foresters, the guidebook is a great resource for anyone wanting to know more about FFMB.
The guidebook is free for anyone participating in an FFMB workshop, available for download as a PDF, or may be purchased in Maine Audubon’s Nature Store.
Individual fact sheets and other excerpts from the guidebook are available on our Resources for Foresters page. A Landowner Guidebook will be published in 2018.
Why is Maine so important for birds?
Every spring, the Maine woods come alive with color and song. Bright warblers return from points far south to sparkle like jewels in the trees. Sturdy woodpeckers and hardy chickadees that stay in Maine all winter look for nesting cavities in dead or rotting trees. Stealthy thrushes hide in dense vegetation, though their resounding flute-like songs give their location away.
The Maine woods fill with more than 90 different species of birds, many here for just three short months, to do one thing: make baby birds. Lots and lots of baby birds.
Maine forests are baby bird factories. They provide a variety of habitats — places where animals find what they need to survive, including food, water, cover from predators, and a place to raise young. For birds, long days, abundant food, and excellent habitat makes the Maine woods an ideal place to raise baby birds.
What is the problem?
Populations of many forest birds have been steadily declining in recent decades, as threats continue to grow. These threats include habitat fragmentation, development, chemical contamination, and air pollution, coupled with habitat loss at migratory stopovers, on wintering grounds, and on summer breeding grounds. Climate change adds an element of uncertainty to the future as plant and animal species shift and move, ecological communities change, and more intense storms change forest dynamics.
What can I do?
With 96 percent of Maine’s land privately owned, landowners can play a critical role in helping birds and other wildlife face these challenges. If we can enhance and conserve Maine’s “baby bird factory,” we can increase the likelihood of population recovery. That is where Forestry for Maine Birds (FFMB) comes in.
FFMB practices promote healthy forests with strong structural and age-class diversity across the landscape. FFMB does this by encouraging foresters, loggers, landowners, and land managers to consider the needs of forest birds when managing their forests. FFMB provides tools to assess existing habitat and to plan activities that ensure a mix of habitat conditions, including structural complexity from the ground up and across the landscape.
FFMB is forestry “with birds in mind.” Forest management and operations enhance, create, or conserve current and future bird habitat while meeting other property objectives. Landowners frequently list the improvement of wildlife resources as an important forest management goal. FFMB gives foresters and landowners the tools to reach that goal and create high-quality wildlife habitat.
Who created FFMB?
FFMB is a cooperative effort lead by Maine Audubon in partnership with the Maine Forest Service, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and the Forest Stewards Guild. The program was adapted from initial work done in Vermont by the Vermont Department of Parks and Recreation and Vermont Audubon.
Throughout the year, Maine Audubon, The Forest Guild, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and the Maine Forest Service host forester, landowner, and logger workshops. These workshops bring the foundation of Forestry for Maine Birds into the field, with background on bird identification, a primer on bird habitat, and an assessment tool for helping evaluate forests with an eye to their role as habitat for birds and wildlife.
If you’d like more information about Forestry for Maine Birds, including how to host or attend a Forestry for Maine Birds workshop, please email email@example.com or call 207.781.2330.