The overall decline of ash tree health presents an opportunity for landowners to salvage dying trees, thus contributing to state and federal efforts to create young forest habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species, in addition to benefitting from the financial and recreational opportunities that come following salvage operations. This case study examines the results of a decision made by the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC, Hartford, CT) to conduct a timber salvage operation on its public water supply watershed land to remove dying white ash (Fraxinus americana) trees and at the same time meet the goals of the State of Connecticut and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for creating habitat for the New England cottontail (NEC; Sylvilagus transitionalis) and other wildlife dependent on young forests. Bird surveys conducted in the area by a wildlife biologist from 2009 to 2016, overlapping with the timber harvest, suggested that the young forest regenerated after the harvest may have been instrumental in attracting dozens of bird species that had not been recorded there in the past. The young forest created is expected to support New England cottontails, though they have not yet been observed there by the monitoring program.
Beland, Bianca, "Ash Decline: An Opportunity for Young Forest Wildlife" (2017). Honors College. 290.