Conservation Priorities

Wildlife in Our National Forests

There are more than 1 million acres of public lands in western NC included in the Nantahala- Pisgah National Forests. NCWF is at the forefront of formal forest management plan revision to guide how the forests will be managed. We are a part of three different stakeholder groups bringing science to bear in the push for consensus.

NCWF is ensuring that wildlife considerations are a priority and that ecological integrity, protection and restoration are the focus of the plan revision. We fully support thinning, prescribed burning, timber stand improvement, various methods of harvesting, rhododendron reduction and other management activities in the repair, recovery, restoration and maintenance of a balanced distribution of habitat conditions on national forest lands in the Southern Appalachians.

We believe this full complement of options is essential for the imminent reintroduction of American Chestnut, the improvement of trout streams, expansion of our elk populations and the return of open woodland conditions, meadows and fire-adapted ecosystems once prevalent in the mountains.

A related matter is the protection of old growth forest. We are working to strengthen existing protections as several wildlife species such as bear, owls, hawks, squirrels and many songbirds, including neo-tropical migrants, require old growth habitat. We fully support the complete protection of old growth stands.

NCWF will work to achieve an overall healthy forest landscape and will do what it takes to create that type of mixed forest that sustains a wide range of wildlife populations. We envision a desirable mosaic ranging from fields and scrubby edge habitats to mid-story and old growth dense forests.


From bees and butterflies to hummingbirds and bats, pollinator species provide critical ecological services through their voracious appetites for nectar. Without these species, food crops and native flora propagation would be in dire straits.

This problem is already evident as bees and monarch butterflies are seeing their lowest levels as exemplified by the massive decrease in the monarch migration numbers recorded. In addition, bees, the key to crops and native flora propagation, are decreasing in population numbers. Over 90 percent of monarch habitat has been converted or destroyed. Through its wildlife habitat programs, NCWF is bringing focus to these species and emphasizing them in the restoration of habitats for certification.

Migratory Birds

Migratory birds found in North Carolina range from waterfowl to neotropical songbirds. NCWF focuses on migratory birds in numerous ways from policy work to wetlands and mountain forest ecozone protections. In addition, we bring to bear our ‘gardening for wildlife habitat’ programs that focus on providing food for birds during migration stopovers. NCWF’s emphasis to reduce the chemicals sprayed on lawns that kill off critical protein sources will benefit the nearly 95 percent of the state’s terrestrial bird species that feed their young a protein-rich diet of insects, mostly caterpillars and worms.

Support the North Carolina Wildlife Federation

Gather your family and friends and plan your next outdoor adventure for one of North Carolina’s many unforgettable natural destinations. Help NCWF preserve wildlife and wild places for our children and future generations to come.