Forest, rangeland, and grassland “health” refers to how habitat conditions across the ecosystem function. Habitat degradation—whether from natural events like wildfire and drought or man-made sources like human development and habitat conversion—can reduce habitat function, resulting in poorer health of the landscapes that deer depend on. Habitat restoration projects can help with recovery of healthy conditions and ensure these habitats are functional and resilient. With millions of acres in the West affected by wildfire in recent years, along with continued habitat conversion, these restoration and enhancement projects are more important than ever.
Through our large landscape conservation grants, local chapter support, and partner collaboration, MDF works to restore habitat health through projects like planting shrubs, grasses, and forbs that increase forage for deer and other wildlife. In addition, habitat projects that remove dead timber from burned areas and thinning of forest stands which are overstocked can utilize the value of the logs forest product to complete the work while ensuring that forests are able to recover. We work with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, state fish and wildlife agencies, and private landowners to treat tens of thousands of acres each year of needed habitat restoration. These projects help play a part in the restoration of our western landscapes— and provide deer the resources they need to thrive.