Since 2010, we’ve planted more than 2.5 million native trees across hundreds of thousands of acres of National Forests in the Northwest. This region’s forests have experienced many natural disturbances such as severe wildfires and tree-killing diseases and insects. Replanting helps reestablish forest cover for wildlife and improves watershed health. A handful of the interesting species found in the Northwest include moose, wolverines, federally listed fish species like steelhead trout and Chinook salmon, as well as federally threatened grizzly bears and Canada lynx.
In the Northwest U.S., Canada lynx are found in the boreal and temperate forests of the North Cascades Range in Washington and in the Rocky Mountains in Idaho and Montana. The big cat requires large diverse habitats and depends on forest cover for denning and stalking its primary prey, the snowshoe hare. Lynx select habitat based on the availability of snowshoe hare, and the hare selects young forest habitat for food and cover from lynx. The closely connected population cycles of the lynx and snowshoe hare are a classic predator-prey example. When hare are plentiful, lynx numbers rise; when hare are scarce, lynx numbers fall. The lynx’s specialty for snowshoe hare and inhabiting forests that receive at least four months of snow each year shows in its physique, as the cat’s long legs and large furry paws are ideal for hunting in the deep snow.
Canada lynx are threatened by habitat fragmentation and loss, along with climate change-associated impacts such as shifts in vegetation and declining snowpack. Their numbers are estimated at only a few hundred in the continental US. Our reforestation work in the Northwest helps maintain critical habitat for this big cat.
Wildlife everywhere needs room to roam and our National Forests provide rich and diverse landscapes across the U.S. The Canada lynx is just one example of the different kinds of unique wildlife that can be found across our forests. Our campaign to plant 50 million trees on our National Forests helps forests like those required by the lynx.
This blog is the third part of a four part series, Our Forests Their Home, highlighting just a few examples of the many ways our campaign to plant 50 million trees supports wildlife. Read the first article here.