Northern Pine Barrens Site Profile

Name: Northern Pine Barrens Acres: 542,472
State: US-NJ Status: Recognized
Counties: Camden, Monmouth, Burlington, Ocean, Atlantic Priority: Continental
Confirmed Criteria: B3
Criteria Proposed
Criteria Confirmed
Assessment Date
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Site Description
The Northern Pine Barrens IBA encompasses typical Pine Barrens habitats including mixed upland forest and scrub-shrub, as well as forested wetlands, grasslands and Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) swamps. The Northern Pine Barrens region is characterized by excessively drained, bleached sand that supports a primarily coniferous forest. Pitch pine (Pinus rigida) is the dominant tree species in this area with some hardwoods, mostly oak species. The Northern Pine Barrens contains a higher pine to oak ratio than its southern counterpart. The site is centrally located and overlaps numerous counties. This macrosite includes or intersects the following IBAs: Manasquan River Watershed, Turkey Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Colliers Mills WMA, Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, Greenwood Forest/ Pasadena WMA, Franklin Parker Preserve/ Wharton State Forest, Bass River Marsh and Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge - Brigantine Division. This site also contains several Natural Heritage Priority Sites consisting of private lands and significant portions of public lands.
Ornithological Summary
The Northern Pine Barrens IBA supports a diversity of bird species, ranging from grassland and scrub-shrub species to interior forest species. State-endangered raptors including Red-shouldered Hawks, Peregrine Falcons and Northern Harriers nest at this site. State-threatened Grassland and Savannah Sparrows also nest among the grasslands of the Northern Pinelands. Due to its size and geographic location, this region is host to exceptional concentrations of several bird species including Pine Warblers, Ovenbirds and Prairie Warblers. The site is important transitional habitat for songbirds during spring and fall migrations.
Conservation Issues
Land Use
The primary threats to this area include heavy development, over abundant white-tailed deer, the loss of natural disturbance, illegal off-road vehicle use, the fragmentation of forests by road construction and the spread of invasive species. Although the Northern Pine Barrens IBA contains Wharton State Forest (the largest tract of land in the state?s park system) and Brendan T. Byrne State Forest (the state?s second largest state forest), the area still faces increasing pressure from rapid development. Increased development decreases water quality through the loss of natural filtering systems, such as forests and wetlands. In addition, the natural water flow has been altered to create cranberry bogs. Wetlands restoration projects include dike removal and Atlantic White Cedar plantings. Protection of public and private lands should occur through regulation and restoration on priority land parcels. Large parcels linking or adjacent to protected areas need to be prioritized for acquisition to avoid fragmentation. Private lands can be protected by providing landowners incentives for protecting and managing habitat. Over abundant deer can reduce the understory by overgrazing, allowing invasive species to gain a foothold thereby degrading habitat for other species. Installing deer-proof fencing protects shrubs and young trees from deer herbivory. Increased law enforcement and decreased access are recommended to limit habitat degradation by off-road vehicles. Appropriate methods of controlling invasive species, including southern pine beetles and gypsy moths, also need to be implemented. The state?s Wildlife Action Plan recommends maintaining deer densities at historical levels and the New Jersey Audubon Society (NJAS) is working with state regulators to promote deer management regulations. The alteration of the natural disturbance regime has changed the character of the Northern Pine Barrens.

National Audubon Society 2013 ®
Important Bird Areas in the U.S.
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