EDGEFIELD, SC—The National Wild Turkey Federation, a member of the White Oak Initiative steering committee, has announced its support of the findings and recommendations released today in Restoring Sustainability for White Oak and Upland Oak Communities: An Assessment and Conservation Plan.
American white oak is a foundational tree species, currently occupying more than 104 million acres of public and private forestland across much of the eastern and central United States. Not only does white oak support extensive plant and animal biodiversity, it is the most commercially important timber oak, generating billions of dollars annually and supplying necessary material to American industries such as furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and wine and spirits.
“White oak and other oak species are vitally important for forest and watershed health and resiliency,” said Doug Little, NWTF's director of conservation operations in the East. “A healthy, diverse forest offers a mosaic of forest age classes, providing young thick growth for cover all the way up through mature stands that provide significant acorn volume for wildlife consumption. Wild turkeys relish acorns in the fall and winter seasons. Acorns provide hens excellent nutrition, ensuring they are in great shape entering the nesting season allowing them to maximize their nesting potential.”
Directed by the White Oak Initiative steering committee, and developed by the American Forest Foundation and the University of Kentucky, Restoring Sustainability for White Oak and Upland Oak Communities: An Assessment and Conservation Plan features science-backed data as well as 10 specific recommended forest management practices that aim to provide long-term sustainability benefits for oak forests.
Without intervention today, the report states, the American white oak population will begin to decline significantly within the next 10 to 15 years. In order to prevent this, active, cross-boundary collaboration, participation and support from industry, resource professionals, policymakers, landowners and others is needed, before it’s too late.
“NWTF is committed to work that will utilize the White Oak Initiative assessment and conservation plan,” Little said. “We are proud to be considered a partner in this important effort. The assessment and conservation plan will aid our staff in understanding where we can have the greatest long-term landscape level impacts for both wild turkeys and white oak through our partnerships on public and private lands.”
For more information, please review the full report on the White Oak Initiative’s website.
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters' rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Since 2012, this 10-year initiative has already eclipsed goals of conserving or enhancing more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruiting or retaining more than 1.5 million hunters and opening access to more than 500,000 acres for hunting and other recreation opportunities. This critical work will continue to impact wildlife habitat and our great outdoors in the final years of the initiative.