An Important Message from the OOS

An Important Message from the OOS

Your opinion matters!

It is time to take a walk in an Ohio forest.  Whether it is a local birding hot-spot or a pine forest planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1940s, the Ohio Division of Forestry (ODF) has been tasked with providing a Forestry Action Plan for ALL of Ohio’s forest resources — public and private, local, state, federal.

The Division of Forestry wants your opinion.  If you are convinced already, simply go to, and fill out, a brief forestry survey found here. before the end of February. 

If not, read on!

Birders are great observers.  We routinely go to field or woods to look for birds.  Wintering birds, migratory birds, nesting birds, common birds, rare birds — it doesn’t matter.  We want to see them all.  We even keep track of them by making lists and taking pictures.  

We conduct official counts.  How many bird observers were out scouring Ohio in December?  How many birders also noted habitat destruction in their annual Christmas Bird Count area?  Whether it was wholesale bulldozing and burning for suburban sprawl or a timber harvest affecting a beloved patch of woods, you felt the sting.

The National Audubon Society tells us birds are in decline.  Many countries throughout the world are directly addressing climate change by planting trees.  But, according to Ohio’s 2019 State and Private Forest Fact Sheet (stamped with the ODF and U.S. Forest Service logos), there were no dollars spent on “Landscape Scale Restoration” in 2018.

Birders throughout Ohio can bear witness to timbering, which has created forest fragmentation as well as the bisecting of State Forests for more ATV trails.  Only 12% of Ohio’s forests are publicly owned, including local, state, and federal holdings.  While we support science-based cutting performed for the benefit of plant and animal species that need succession and second growth to thrive, we believe that more effort should be made to keep forests intact.  

Birders love to share their opinion.  And here is your chance – no, DUTY — to express yours in order to influence the future of Ohio’s forests.  ALL of Ohio Forests, both public and private.  Do you want to see more reforestation?  Are you concerned about the decline of birds and wildlife which require large scale, unfragmented habitats only found in state forests?  Do you value bird habitat and water quality?

Here are several key areas that OOS believes provide the greatest opportunity for impact:

– maintaining large tracts of unfragmented forest (reducing non-science based cutting)

– performing reforestation by planting trees in tracts not cut for wildlife benefit

– making decisions based on improving water quality

– increasing forest health education for Ohioans

– continuing emphasis on work to address invasive pest and disease (including education programs)

– supporting state leaders and representatives committed to adequately funding our state forests

The Ohio Division of Forestry has a huge task before it but has limited resources to fund their priorities.  It has a worthy goal to improve the educational outreach to private landowners.  You can help them understand your priorities by going to the link and filling out the survey; response time is limited to February!

Make your opinion known now.  You can bet that those with financial interests in the forests have already logged in.

Tim Colborn
Ohio Ornithological Society, President

To learn more, visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Forestry page.

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