With an economic impact in Arkansas of more than $780 million a year from hunting alone, maintaining healthy wildlife habitat is critical for the environment and economy. Managing wildlife habitat is the focus of the annual forestry field day set for April 19 at the Southwest Research and Extension Center in Hope.

According to a 2011 study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hunting in Arkansas generates a $788 million annual impact, and the state draws more than 50,000 non-resident hunters a year.

“There’s no doubt that wildlife has a major impact on our state and our landowners,” said Jon Barry, Extension forester for the Arkansas Forest Resources Center. “We want to be sure people have the right tools to manage their lands for the benefit of wildlife.”

Rebecca McPeake, extension wildlife specialist and part of the Arkansas Forest Resources Center faculty, will discuss managing forests as wildlife habitat. Jeff Taverner, private lands biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, will discuss bobwhite quail habitat needs and restoration on the site of a quail habitat restoration project.

John Beasley, Arkansas Forestry Commission forester for Hempstead and Nevada counties, will discuss services provided to landowners by the Arkansas Forestry Commission, many of these services can be used to improve habitat for wildlife.

Barry will discuss tree identification.

“Developing good wildlife habitat requires managing those trees that produce forages that wildlife use,” he said.

The fee for the field day is $10 per person for those who register by April 12. The fee to register at the door is $15 per person. Lunch will be provided for those who register by April 12. To receive a registration form by e-mail, contact Barry at (870) 777-9702, ext. 112 or at jbarry@uaex.edu.

For more information about wildlife management or forestry, contact your county Extension office or visit www.uaex.edu or the Arkansas Forest Resources Center site at http://afrc.uamont.edu/