Federal Lands Stewardship
Forest health figures prominently in the long-term outlook for mule deer populations in the West. Mule deer need vigorous forests with robust early successional plant communities (habitats with diverse and healthy flora) that provide adequate levels of nutrition throughout their annual life cycle. However, the modern-day challenges of forest management in the West are vast and layered. Beetle infestation, invasive species, climate change, and a host of socioeconomic issues have resulted in large swaths of degraded forest stands—i.e., dense, unhealthy, and prone to catastrophic wildfire—that can only be improved through proactive and aggressive forest and rangeland stewardship treatments.
To help address these challenges, MDF has stewardship agreements with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to do large scale habitat restoration or enhancement projects on federal public lands. These projects restore lands that were burned by wildfire or are overrun by invasive weeds, shrubs, and conifers that reduce deer forage; many of these projects also fit into our migration corridors and seasonal range initiative as well.