Habitat Enhancements


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Habitat Enhancements

  1. 1. Gardening with habitat for wildlife Oregon Conservation Strategy –species in mind Oregon Department http://www.dfw.state.or.us/conservationstrategy/ of Fish and Wildlife Ecoregions Habitats and Species Six Key Conservation IssuesFor each ecoregion (8):• Characteristics (ecology & • Land use changes economy) • Invasive species• Strategy species and habitat • Changes in fire, flood regimes types • Water quality and quantity• Conservation issues and • Barriers to fish and wildlife actions movement• Conservation success stories • Institutional barriers to voluntary• Conservation Opportunity conservation Areas maps and profiles Willamette Valley Ecoregion Willamette Valley Ecoregion Strategy Habitats Strategy Species (59) • California myotis (bat) • Western gray squirrel • Grasslands • Northern red-legged frog • Northwestern pond turtle • Oak woodlands • Western painted turtle • Riparian • Chinook salmon • Winter steelhead • Wetlands and wet prairies • Acorn woodpecker • Little willow flycatcher • Western bluebird • Western meadowlark • Fender’s blue butterfly 1
  2. 2. Oak Woodlands: Why Care? Oak Woodlands: Threats• Benefits to wildlife • Land use conversion – Used by 200+ species • Fire suppression• Ecosystems services • Invasive speciesOak Woodlands and how we can employ the Strategy’s Habitat Approach Recommended Conservation Actions• Characterized by open canopy • Maintain existing oak woodlands dominated by oak • Control encroaching conifers – 30-60% tree cover • Address over-crowding• Common plant associates: • Re-establish oak woodlands – Ponderosa pine, Big leaf maple, OR ash, snowberry, poison oak, hazel, • Control invasive plant species serviceberry, sword fern, grasses • Restore understory plants• Historically abundant; <4% remains Broad scale benefits of functioning Opportunities within existing systems woodlands • Nutrient cycling • Provide for basic wildlife needs by protecting • Pollination & enhancing food, cover, water, space • Germination • Identify and address limiting factors • Seed dispersal • Manage habitats to provide multiple stages of • Soil generation succession • Habitats & niches • Minimize fragmentation • Predators on pests – Decrease edges • Excrete natural fertilizer – Provide corridors between patches • Wildfire risk reduction • Soil stabilization • Increase habitat diversity • Water quality, quantity, runoff storage – Species & structure – Snags and downed logs 2
  3. 3. Habitat, a biological definition Habitat is:Habitat is the combination of factors • Food• biotic • Water• abiotic • Cover• necessary to produce • Space – Occupancy, survival, and reproduction by members • Other species-specific of a given species needs Native species and species habitat requirements• Each species’ habitat requirements reflects the native communities in which the species evolved• Our efforts to provide habitat for native species will be most successful when we can provide native plants, structures, and habitat elements Structure: The perils of fragmentation Complex can be good! • Reduced interior area “hard” vs. “soft” edges • Increased edge area • Incursion of exterior conditions in the interior • Increased permeability of interior to predators, competitors, invasives • Species-specific minimum patch size may be lost • Lost connectivity among patches • Others… 3
  4. 4. Cottonwood galleries along the main riversare the sole source of declining Great Blue Build it (or protect it) and they Heron Rookeries will come… >>We can provide necessary elements of habitat for native species… Invertebrates Amphibians• Butterflies, native pollinators, and other • Maintain wet areas, native water & flows beneficials • No (non-native) fish!• Some require very species-specific, life • No bullfrogs! stage-specific plants • Minimize disturbance – Some species – Example: Fender’s blue butterfly and Kincaid’s lupine cannot endure any handling• Others are more generalist and can benefit from a broad range of pollen and nectar-bearing plants 4
  5. 5. Reptiles Herpetiles to consider:• Structure or cover for thermoregulation • Pacific tree frog – Typically need some structure for • Red-legged frog overwintering • Western newts (permanent ponds) – Turtles especially: • Long-toed salamanders (ephemeral ponds) • Basking structure Reptiles: • Protect from non-native predation – bullfrogs on • Western pond turtle young! • Protect from non-native, invasive competitors • Western painted turtle • Garter snakes (They eat slugs!)• No persecution Birds BirdsWV has forest species, grassland species, and • Do not create an ecological trap edge specialists – Remember to consider – Non-native/invasive competitors? species-specific needs – Non-native predators?• Food– via choice of plants – Availability of cover near food and water– Feeders – Pro’s and con’s• Water• Cover and complex structure– via choice and variety of plants• Species preferences for nesting materials• Some will use nest boxes, but size, type, and location matters! Consult a book or site to learn more, e.g.,www.birdhouses101.com Mammals • Small terrestrial and arboreal mammals – Food: Several are generalists and omnivorous, but others are more specialized – Food, cover, and structure in proximity so as to decrease predation Think of songbirds, but • Example: Squirrels need fruit and seed-bearing trees and don’t forget the shrubs, esp. oaks. They need big enough trees to allow drey woodpeckers, owls, and and nest-building, along with larder hoards. They are preyed raptors! on by avian and terrestrial predators, so cover needs to be close by at all times. – Avoid creating artificial sources of predation 5
  6. 6. Mammals Be careful of:• Bats – Roost structures – Vegetation that provides habitat for insect food sources – Water – Some will use – Low- to no-disturbance, especially of maternity colonies – Very sensitive to pesticides Beware of creating hazards or Ecological traps creating new problems…• It “looks” like habitat to an animal, but • What risks and either: opportunities do you – Something crucial is missing see here? – Something is present that reduces or prevents – For wildlife? survival and reproduction • Animals don’t “know” that it is a trap – For you? – For your neighbors?• Animals living in ecological traps are “lost” from the population: – abundance, genes, connectivity of populations ? Are we creating risks? Invasive Species• Increased risk of predation by “Nonnative organisms that cause economic or – Native or non-native species environmental harm and are capable of spreading to new areas of the state. Invasive species does not • Examples: house cats, koi/goldfish, supplemented include humans, domestic livestock or nonharmful native predators exotic organisms.”• Increased food or habitat factors for undesirable species • Examples: rats & spilled bird food, too much cover around stems of rodent-vulnerable shrubs & trees, bird food that increases starling populations 6
  7. 7. Invasive Species: Keep Wildlife WILD! Risks posed for native species• Changes to ecosystem functions• Loss of biodiversity• Reduction in habitat quality or direct habitat loss• Direct competition• Direct mortality (e.g., predation)• Introduction of disease Habituation can be deadly, But remember: With damaging, and dangerous forethought, your choices can• “Fed bears are dead bears” • Provide habitat and connectivity for native• A wild animal is always a wild animal species• Habituation often centers on food • Increase ecological services in your – Decreased fear of humans garden: – Increased aggressiveness for food or space – Examples: pollination, predation on insects – Competition/elimination of domestic • Increase your enjoyment and the value of “competitors” YOUR habitat while still reaping gardening – Disease or waste products rewards! – Prey species attract predators • Contribute to maintaining Oregon’s natural – Other risks… riches 7