American Forests Magazine

Summer 2021 Issue

Home/A place to call home

A place to call home

WHETHER BURROWED below the forest floor, nested among branches or denned beneath downed trees, countless creatures call forests home. In fact, 80% of all land-based species live in forests.

But it’s far from a one-sided relationship. While forests provide habitat and food for wildlife, many wildlife species return the favor, nourishing their forest homes by dispersing and germinating seeds, controlling threatening pests and more.

This dynamic partnership benefits forests in other ways as well. Often, the vibrancy and anticipation of spotting wildlife is what draws people to forests. While there, they can find adventure and emotionally connect with nature, which, ultimately, creates a desire to protect it.

When that happens, we help ensure these creatures have a place to call home — forever.

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Bears make their dens in the depths of the forest, but it is their diet that returns the favor. They help fertizile the forest floor by dragging fish carcasses throughout the forest, and even their own scat enriches the soil. Additionally, bears’ love of fruit helps distribute undigested seed in different parts of forest ecosystems, generating new plant growth.

Bears make their dens in the depths of the forest, but it is their diet that returns the favor. They help fertilize the forest floor by dragging fish carcasses throughout the forest, and even their own scat enriches the soil. Additionally, bears’ love of fruit helps distribute undigested seed in different parts of forest ecosystems, generating new plant growth. Credit: Maria Harvey / Shutterstock.

Some trees are incredibly dependent on wildlife for species survival. Clark’s nutcrackers crack open whitebark pine cones, extract their seeds and bury them for future consumption. However, many of those seeds remain in the ground, uneaten. The Clark’s nutcracker is the only animal that buries the seeds in such a way that they can germinate and, ultimately, become full grown whitebark pines.

Some trees are incredibly dependent on wildlife for species survival. Clark’s nutcrackers crack open whitebark pine cones, extract their seeds and bury them for future consumption. However, many of those seeds remain in the ground, uneaten. The Clark’s nutcracker is the only animal that buries the seeds in such a way that they can germinate and, ultimately, become full grown whitebark pines. Credit: Allison_H / Shutterstock.

Owls nest high in the tree tops, but their forest presence is far more important than one might think. Some species, such as the northern spotted owl, prefer dense old-growth forests. When present, these owls serve as indicators of forest health and play a role in land management aimed at protecting these remaining old-growth forests.

Owls nest high in the tree tops, but their forest presence is far more important than one might think. Some species, such as the northern spotted owl, prefer dense old-growth forests. When present, these owls serve as indicators of forest health and play a role in land management aimed at protecting these remaining old-growth forests. Credit: Aria_RJWarren / Shutterstock.

Some animals bite off more than they can chew. And, in the case of the puma, which can take down big game much larger than themselves, their leftovers can feed a wide range of smaller scavengers.

Some animals bite off more than they can chew. And, in the case of the puma, which can take down big game much larger than themselves, their leftovers can feed a wide range of smaller scavengers. Credit: Photocech / Adobe Stock.

May 31st, 2021|Tags: |