Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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TWRA Says Bridgestone WMA Cutting Will Benefit More Than Quail

The cutting of some 340 acres in White County’s Bridgestone Wilderness Area is aimed at saving the declining quail species.

TWRA plans to begin cutting at Bridgestone-Firestone Centennial Wilderness this fall. Region Three Wildlife Management Area Coordinator Aubrey Deck said the project will also help strengthen turkey and deer numbers.

“Doing projects like this should increase the amount of forage available for deer and turkey,” Deck said. “As well as broad rearing cover for turkey, fawning cover for deer. In theory, you’ll have more deer and healthier deer.”

Some in the White County community have voiced that the cutting goes against what the land was originally donated for. In response, Deck said TWRA manages the property not only for hunters, but also for declining species like quail.

“Our focal species is quail, but there is a laundry list of species that will be helping,” Deck said. “(…) Outside of this project and not just TWRA where savanna and woodland restoration has gone on, because it is believed to be an imperil ecosystem. It helps with plant diversity as well as the wildlife.”

Deck said the land is currently a closed canopy forest, but TWRA will convert it to a savanna. Deck said the biome existed naturally in Tennessee but as time has passed, more unmanaged forests and manicured fields have spawned.

“A lot of the acreage in Tennessee has gone that way,” Deck said. “There is a lot of plant and wildlife diversity that has waned in response to that, and we are just trying to turn that around where we can.”

Deck said the cutting is divided into two areas: 130 acres north of Polly Branch Creek, and the remainder to the south near Scott Gulf Road. Deck said there will be about two trees per acre with all short leaf pine trees maintained.

Deck said the cutting will give enough sunlight to start growing field plants in the woods. Deck said about 40 percent of the cutting will result in woodlands where about 40 percent of trees are retained.

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