- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

WHEELING, Ill. (AP) - Restoration work begins this month on hundreds of acres of Cook County preserve land in suburban Chicago.

In a statement, forest preserve officials say contractors will remove trees from land near Wheeling. The restoration will continue through winter.

The goal is to restore habitat for native plants and animals. Officials say removing trees increases how much sunlight reaches growth on the ground. It also provides shelter and reduces erosion.

Forest Preserves chief ecologist Chip O’Leary says some landscape might look bare, but it’ll rebound with grasses and wildflowers in a season or two.

O’Leary says the changes will help create a better habitat for animals and improve the land for hiking.

Officials say the wood be used to produce lumber and firewood, which is estimated to save approximately $235,000.

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