Illinois Habitat Incentive Program

The NWTF, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Illinois Natural Resource Conservation Service partnered to provide funds to private landowners through a Habitat Incentive Program, which provided 75% cost-share to landowners for forest management practices. The program is administered by the NWTF foresters in Illinois. Currently, 1,840 acres are enrolled in the program statewide and encompass multiple NWTF Focal Landscapes, including Driftless, Kaskaskia and Illinois River Basin and Shawnee Hills.

Forest management practices include the removal of undesirable tree species in favor of desired species allowing, for example, oaks to increase mast production and improve wildlife forage; mechanical and chemical treatments to control nonnative invasive species, with applications varying from spot treatments to entire property treatments; removal of undesirable understory shrubs, allowing more sunlight to reach forest floor and increasing herbaceous growth and desired species regeneration; and prescribed fire to remove leaf litter, control invasive and undesirable species and prepare the forest floor for oak and hickory regeneration.

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