For quail, timberland is a mixed blessing. Its value is determined primarily according to its age class, or stage. Of the various age classes, those in the seedling and sapling stages are of greatest benefit to quail. While in these stages the trees interfere little with the growth of grasses, forbs and vines. As the stages progress and trees become older and larger, their tops grow together to form a canopy (crown closure). With crown closure, low-growing plants are lost due to shading, and the value of timberland to quail quickly declines. It is well known that quail often fly to nearby woods when flushed and include hardwood and pine mast in their diet. But without sufficient cover at the ground, the use of most older classes of timberland will be limited and brief.
To benefit quail, any timber management must also consider ways to retain some herbaceous plants. Virtually any cutting of timber, from thinning to a complete harvest (clearcutting), will accomplish this. The following links will address different timber management options in greater detail from new plantings, pine thinning, and clear-cutting.