Forest Foods for Wildlife

Acorn and native forest fruit availability strongly influences wildlife and forest ecology. Fleshy fruit (such as dogwood, blackgum, holly, or pokeweed berries), is a key food resource for many game and nongame wildlife species.

Most species of birds and mammals consume fruit at least occasionally, and it may be a particularly important high-energy food source for neotropical migratory birds during fall migration, and critical for many animals in winter, when other food resources are scarce.

Acorn production affects reproductive success and survival of many wildlife species such as black bear, rodents, and deer.

Scientists within the Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management Research Work Unit 4157, along with many collaborators and partners, study how fleshy fruit and hard mast availability varies among forest types and age-classes, seasonally, and over time as forests mature.

We are also developing models and tools for land managers to assess acorn or fruit production capability of forest landscapes under different management scenarios.

Forest Foods for Wildlife Research Topics: