Nebraska Game and Parks Commission


Date of this Version



Steinauer, Gerry. March 9, 2011. Native Forest and Woodland Management Guidelines for Nebraska's Wildlife Management Areas. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. 50 pp.


This document is one in a four part series produced by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to provide direction to managers of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in Nebraska. Other documents in the series cover management of grasslands, wetlands, and early successional habitats.

Prior to Euroamerican settlement wildfires, drought and competition with prairie grasses limited the presettlement distribution of trees in Nebraska to well-watered and somewhat fire protected river valleys and rocky escarpments. At that time, wooded habitats covered about 2 percent of the Nebraska landscape. Though limited in areal, these communities were diverse and supported important components of Nebraska’s biodiversity. Since settlement Nebraska’s forests and woodlands have suffered serious decline. Fore example, nearly all of the riparian woodlands along the now channelized stretch of the Missouri River have been lost to development. Remnant wooded habitats are threatened by logging, invasive plants, overgrazing, catastrophic wildfires (coniferous woodlands only) and fragmentation from development. Only through sound management can the native forests and woodlands on our WMAs be conserved.

This document is directed towards management that maintains and enhances the ecological quality and biodiversity of native woodlands on WMAs. Though plant community based, the management objectives promoted within this document will provide benefits for wildlife, including game species.

The specific objectives of this document are as follows:

1) Develop a philosophy of forest and woodland management to be used by WMA managers.

2) Provide background of information on the need for and benefits of sound woodland management.

3) Provide information that will help WMA managers identify forest and woodland types and their quality.

4) Provide information on woodland management techniques.

5) Provide minimum management requirements and management options for forest and woodland types on WMAs.