November, 2013
New Hampshire Fish and Game
Landowner Relations Program

Private landowners play an important role
in sustaining New Hampshire's wildlife.  


Recently, I came across an interesting paper that summarizes the effects of forest roads on wildlife. The paper ("A conceptual framework for understanding assessing, and mitigating ecological effects of forest roads" by C Robinson, PN Duinker, and KF Beazley in Environmental Review 18: 61-86, 2010) is a good overview of the current scientific literature (well, current up to 2010) of road ecology. After reading the article, it got me thinking about how many people have old roads on their properties and I wanted to share with you some of the things I read about in the paper.


According to Robinson et al, the wildlife species most at risk from roads are habitat specialists (mostly those that need interior forest conditions), species that have low densities (either because of low reproductive rates/long generation times or they are endangered), species that need large and diverse habitat types, species that have large home ranges, and species that are attracted to the roads. Based on that list, there are a lot of New Hampshire wildlife species that could be impacted! The authors specifically mention forest songbirds, salamanders, flying squirrels, pileated woodpecker, northern goshawk, American marten, moose, and northern leopard frog. However, there are some wildlife species that actually benefit from roads, specifically some birds use forest edges for foraging and singing, and roads that are used as packed snowmobile trails in winter are frequently used by wildlife, such as coyote and bobcat.


The authors identify potential future impacts of forest roads too. Once a road is built, it tends to open access to the interior forest, lakes and rivers creating opportunities for increased human use and development that could alter ecological functions. So, what can be done? Robinson et al summarize three scenarios for mitigating road impacts: road obliteration, road ripping, and road abandonment. The first two scenarios can be costly yet effective especially when slope could impact water quality. Road abandonment is the cheapest and usually the default method.


The article fails to mention turning roads into recreational pathways. I had always thought that an old logging road was the perfect opportunity to turn into a recreational road or trail.  Some of my favorite leisurely walks and cross-country ski adventures occur on forest roads.  How about you? 


Do you have forest roads on your property and do you maintain them for vehicular access or foot traffic only? And do you notice any differences in wildlife use of your roads when the roads are being used more frequently? 

Caution Multi-Use Recreation Area


The "Caution Multi-Use Recreation Area" sign is becoming more popular.  This sign reminds all users of the property to be aware of each other while out in the woods.


This is just one of the 14 signs that New Hampshire Fish and Game provides free to landowners that agree to keep the majority of their land open to hunting. Go to for more information and to fill out the participation agreement form to order your signs.  Already enrolled, but need new signs?  Email or call (603) 271-1137.     



The National Wild Turkey Federation is offering management plans for New Hampshire landowners in the New England Cottontail Focus Area or landowers interested in managing for American Woodcock.  To learn more about this opportunity and to find out if your property qualifies, contact NWTF Regional Biologist, Grant Mecozzi in Derry, NH at (978)766-8349 or  


Thank you for allowing others to hunt on your land.  Here a few links that you might find useful:


Hunting Season Dates:

Hunter Education:

Hunter's Guide to Landowner

Operation Game Thief

Protect New Hampshire's natural resources - report wildlife law violators!

Operation Game Thief is a silent witness, anti-poaching program that encourages the public to report any suspicious activity or knowledge about a poaching violation.   


Report Violations: 1-800-344-4262 or   


New Hampshire Fish and Game
Landowner Relations Program

 11 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301