As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to work on its 5-year review of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, FLA has been working with the Service to ensure that the interests and impact of private forest landowners are fully understood. As a part of these efforts, FLA held a Timber Talk and Forest Forum in Louisiana focusing on the recovery and listing status of the species. The result of the 5-year review may be a change in the listing status for the birds from endangered to threatened – or even a removal from the list.
FLA hosted representatives from the Service and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for a field tour of an FLA member’s forestland where they have been managing for the endangered birds. Federal regulators were able to see red-cockaded woodpecker management from the perspective of a forest landowner. The following day, forest landowners, the Service, the state wildlife agency, the U.S. Forest Service, and representatives from several NGOs gathered for an in-depth discussion on the success of active population management as well as how landowners are bounded by the regulations of the ESA. Topics included the current status of the 5-year review, collaborative efforts to ensure the best available data is used to determine whether the bird should be de-listed, and the development of strategies for supporting continued conservation efforts if the bird is de-listed. FLA continues to work with the Service and other partners on the outcomes of this meeting, as the Service nears the conclusion of the 5-year review process.