A logging practice now largely a thing of the past has allowed Maine to become home to the largest population of federally protected Canada lynx in the contiguous U.S.

But with clear-cutting now tightly regulated, several private landowners are trying to recreate the new-growth spruce and fir forest necessary for lynx to thrive.

Maine has 500 to 1,000 Canada lynx thanks to massive clear-cutting in the 1970s and '80s to eradicate a pest called the spruce budworm. Thick spruce and fir emerged from clearings to provide ideal habitat for the snowshoe hares on which the big cats prey.

Mark McCollough of the National Fish and Wildlife Service says the goal is to recreate the conditions to prevent a big drop in the number of lynx in Maine.