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heights and density. This layering effect will allow wildlife to select areas they find most comfortable. You may want to supplement natural resourcesThe term Wildscapes with artificial ones. Feeding stations, nest boxes, rock piles, brush piles, bird baths and water troughsis a deliberate adaptation of “landscape.” By definition enhance the effects of plants and ponds.this means altering and maintaining the habitat wecreate. Simply “letting an area go wild” will not Where can I learn more?create an effective Wildscape. A good guide to help you through the develop-As urban centers continue to sprawl into wildlife habitats, it ment of a Wildscape is: Texas Wildscapes:increases the strain on wildlife by reducing the resources they Gardening for Wildlife. This book is availableneed for survival. This habitat loss occurs throughout Texas. State through Texas A&M University Press.Parks and Wildlife Management Areas can help, but with more than 90% Traps to Avoidof Texas privately owned, action from private landowners is necessary for BE FIREWISE A Wildscape is not an excuse for ignoringeffective habitat restoration. The Texas Wildscapes program provides information or violating city and county regulations.and recognition to people who provide wildlife habitat at their homes, schools and work places. While shrubs and brush are important to wildlife, Health and safety regulations make it possible and we do want to have some brush on ourThrough Wildscapes, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department encourages landowners to restore habitat — for people to live in harmony with each other. properties, it is also important that we maintainfood, shelter and water — for birds, butterflies, reptiles and even small mammals in their backyards. Wildscapes make it possible to live in harmony this with a sense of community responsibility and with wildlife and each other. Maintain yourThese habitats must still abide by local and county ordinances, but small changes in our landscape safety. We all have a role to play in protecting our Wildscape for your enjoyment and that ofcan result in significant improvement in wildlife habitat. home and community from fire. your neighbors.Since the actions of one are magnified by repetition, we encourage people who develop a backyard habitat to This is especially important if you live in an area A Wildscape is a safe harbor in which wildlifehave their property certified as an official Texas Wildscape. The attractive yard sign that can be purchased known as the wildland urban interface (WUI), a can find the resources they need. It is not anafter certification encourages others in your neighborhood to look at their yards from a wildlife perspective. place where homes back up against large stretches “official wildlife sanctuary.” You determine of undeveloped land. This area becomes particularly what can and cannot be done on your vulnerable in drought situations, when extensive property within the context of areas of dry brush become a tinder box. Providing a WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIALS? How can I provide the basics? your city or neighbor- separation — ideally 30 feet — between your home hood associationAn effective wildlife habitat will provide all The most important step in developing a Wild- and these fuels is very important. This area does guidelines.three basic needs for wildlife — food, shelter scape is learning about the plants and soils that not need to be lost to wildlife habitat, though — useand water — in a way that they can readily use characterize your region. The fact that a plant it to plant materials that maintain their moisture,and easily access. Providing the basics, in a grows in an area without human assistance use hardscape to create shelter, and use it for yourdiverse and well-planned manner, will make does not make that plant “native” to that area. supplemental feeding and watering features.your garden more attractive to native wildlife. Introduced plants are not good substitutes for Avoid plants that are highly resinous or dry quickly the native plants used by wildlife. Texas has 10 close to your home. Cedar/juniper, yaupon, possumSince wildlife thrives in the presence of plants distinct ecoregions. A careful look at undisturbedthey have adapted to, native plants are encour- haw, rosemary and grasses should not be used areas around your home will help you understand around the foundation of your home. Replace themaged in the Wildscapes program. Properties what plants should be found in your ecoregion.applying for certification must ensure that with plants that maintain their moisture withoutat least 50 percent of the plants used in their Plants provide both food and shelter require- becoming resinous. Succulents are ideal.landscaping are native to Texas. ments for wildlife. Select plants for their food For more information on being firewise in these value as well as plants that will grow to different areas, visit www.texasfirewise.com