Important Bird Areas

Belleplain State Forest

New Jersey

Located in northwest Cape May County, Belleplain State Forest contains mixed oak-pine forests, Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) and hardwood swamps, grasslands, scrub-shrub habitat and several lakes. This site includes the contiguous wetlands of the Woodbine Bogs Natural Heritage Priority Site as well as Lake Nummy, a 26 acre lake named for the last Lenni Lenape Indian chief. In 1933, shortly after Belleplain was established, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) set up camp to provide labor for the forest. For eight years, the CCC constructed the State Forest?s headquarters, maintenance buildings, a road system, bridges, dams and Lake Nummy. Belleplain State Forest was established to provide recreation, wildlife management, timber production and water conservation.

Ornithological Summary

Conservation Concern - State-endangered: Bald Eagle (B)

Conservation Concern - State-threatened: Barred Owl (B)

Conservation Concern - State-threatened: Cooper's Hawk(B)

Regional Responsibility Species - BCR 30 Scrub-shrub/Barrens: Prairie Warbler, Whip-poor-will, Blue-winged Warbler, Pine Warbler, Wild Turkey, Eastern Towhee, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Wood-Pewee (B)

Regional Responsibility Species - BCR 30 Mixed Upland Forest:Wood Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, Yellow-throated Vireo, Whip-poor-will, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-billed Cuckoo, Baltimore Oriole, Northern Flicker, Black-and-white Warbler, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Broad-winged Hawk, Worm-eating Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Wild Turkey, Acadian Flycatcher, Gray Catbird, Carolina Chickadee (B)

Significant Congregations-Exceptional Single Species Concentration: Yellow-throated Warbler (B)

Significant Migrant Stopover/Flyover-Landbirds (SM, FM)

Conservation Issues

This site is protected from development; however, fragmentation and loss of the adjacent privately-owned habitats are major threats. Residential and industrial development continues to expand in Cape May County. Nearby sand and gravel operations have already created large gaps in habitats. Protection and restoration of privately-owned lands can be achieved by promoting state and federal habitat incentive programs to landowners and by prioritizing lands for acquisition. NJ Department of Environmental Protection?s Green Acres Program continues to add parcels to Belleplain State Forest. Additional threats include habitat degradation from illegal off-road vehicle use and the southern pine beetle, a destructive forest insect pest. The southern pine beetle attacks all pine species and may have a negative impact on Barred Owl populations because of the mortality of pine in lowland areas. Scrub-shrub and classic pine barrens habitat are threatened by forest succession. Forest management of this site should include restoration of disturbance regimes, such as prescribed fire and silviculture that restore early seral stages in appropriate forest community types.

Habitat

Mixed upland forest with nontidal wetlands and shrub-scrub habitat

Land Use

Belleplain State Forest was established in 1928 for recreation, timber production, wildlife management, and conservation of water supplies. Various demonstrations are conducted to study the production of forest-related crops and the conservation of forest resources.

Recreational use centers on The Lake Nummy Recreational Area that offers opportunity for a variety of activities. New Jersey maintains the forest as a natural area. Some regulated forestry occurs.