Old-growth is great, but here’s why we need new-growth forests, too

If there’s been a central, unques­tioned tenet of bird conserva­tion in the past quarter-centu­ry, it’s been the absolute importance of large, intact tracts of mature woodland. As populations of species such as Wood Thrush, which evolved to nest deep in the interior of mature woodlands, have continued to fall for decades, the reme­dy for reversing those declines seemed straightforward: To save forest birds, protect and restore the unfragmented forest they need to successfully nest.

But a growing number of conserva­tion biologists, citing a rapidly expand­ing body of science, say the opposite is also true—that logging can be essential to creating bird habitat.

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