Delta National Forest is an island of green surrounded by farm fields. The forest comprises more than 60,000 acres of contiguous bottomland hardwoods. The United States government began purchasing this area in 1935, providing the public with the only bottomland hardwood national forest in the nation. Between 1950 and 1976, approximately one-third of the Delta?s bottomland forests were converted to agriculture. By the 1980s, less than 20 percent of the original forested wetlands remained.

Ornithological Summary

Delta National Forest stands as a reminder of an expansive network of swamps, bayous, and bottomland forests that once covered the Lower Mississippi Valley. This forest provides essential habitats for a diverse array of woodland birds not only during the breeding season, but also during critical winter months. Located in the Mississippi Flyway, the largest migration track in North America, the forested wetlands of Delta National Forest offer waterfowl migrating south acorns, invertebrates, and other high-energy nutrients. Sharing the habitat with waterfowl at various times throughout the year are many neotropical migratory bird species, such as Summer Tanagers and Prothonotary Warblers. The remaining bottomland hardwood habitat in the Delta region is important not only for the resources they provide for waterfowl and neotropical songbirds, but also for colonial waterbirds and raptors such as Mississippi Kites.

Conservation Issues

The U.S. Forest Service manages its lands for multiple resources: wood, water, wildlife, recreation and range. Delta National Forest is dominated by large individual trees of Nuttall, Overcup and Willow Oaks as well as other wetland-adapted species such as Cypress. Forest management practices are implemented to ensure a healthy bottomland hardwood ecosystem. Greentree reservoirs and slough control structures allow wildlife managers to mimic the natural backwater flooding conditions of the past for wintering waterfowl. Other habitat management practices benefiting wildlife include wildlife openings, artificial nest boxes and ecosystem-based timber management.

Ownership

Delta National Forest is owned by the federal government and is managed by the US Department of Agriculture's Forest Service office located in Rolling Fork, Mississippi.

Habitat

Greentree reservoirs and slough control structures allow wildlife managers to mimic the natural backwater flooding conditions of the past for wintering waterfowl. These areas of the bottomland hardwood forest otherwise may not be regularly flooded during wet times of the year.

Land Use

Delta National Forest is managed for timber extraction and wildlife conservation. Hunting seaons for many species of game are possible throughout the year.

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