New Hampshire is home to an abundance of diverse wildlife habitats and natural communities, which can make it difficult to decide where to focus conservation efforts. There are many ways to identify and prioritize areas for conservation. One strategy is to identify rare habitats and exemplary natural communities and focus on protecting those areas first. Becase they are uncommon, protecting these areas can provide habitat components not available elsewhere, which will help to support a diversity of wildlife species on the landscape.
Vegetated buffers aren’t just good for wildlife; they’re good for communities, too! From providing critical habitat and protecting water quality to stabilizing banks, mitigating floods, and encouraging groundwater recharge, vegetated buffers provide a lot of bang for the buck. All in all, buffers are a great way to protect your community’s quality of life and scenic character, as well as important habitat for some of our favorite critters, from wood frogs and Blanding’s turtles to brook trout and snowshoe hare.
Shrubland habitats are used by over 100 species of wildlife in NH and are critically important to many. Despite their importance to wildlife, these habitats have become increasingly rare in NH and as a result, many of the species that use and/or rely on this habitat have shown declining population numbers in recent years.
Invasive plants often take over places where soils or existing plants have been disturbed – sites like field edges, abondoned farms, roadsides, or at trailheads. One of the best things you can do to minimize the spread of invasive plants is to leave soils and areas of native plants alone, especially in places where invasive plants are nearby.
Wildlife travel corridors are critical for the conservation of wildlife in New Hampshire. The loss of wildlife corridors may result in direct mortality, habitat fragmentation, and barriers to movement.
Hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, horseback riding, snowmobiling -- these are just some of the ways we get outside to enjoy nature and unwind from our day-to-day activities. However, even these seeming harmless activities can have impacts on wildlife including reduced abundance, reproduction, and survival. Thoughtful trail location allows us to get outside to enjoy nature and also minimize disturbance to wildlife.
Engaging youth in conservation commission activities can create meaningful and lasting connections. Get started by reaching out to your local school or teacher and don’t feel like you need a fully fledged plan. Suggest project ideas that can be simple to start.
Honey bees and other pollinating insects are crucial to our fruit and vegetable production and contributing to a healthy ecosystem. Unfortunately, pollinators face a number of threats, from habitat loss and degradation to nonnative species and diseases, pesticide misuse, and climate change.
Communities and conservation groups can prioritize areas for habitat protection using the NH Wildlife Action Plan maps. For each community in the state, two wildlife maps are available. The Wildlife Habitats Land Cover Map shows the critical wildlife habitat types identified in the NH Wildlife Action Plan.
Climate change is throwing a number of curveballs at NH's wildlife and habitats, from rising temperatures to more extreme precipitation. Community boards and conservation organizations can support resilient wildlife and healthy habitats by learning about the impacts and then educating others about what we can do. Whether you're working to engage your community's residents or members of your conservation organization's board, you can help raise awareness about the threats of climate change to wildlife and habitat and the importance of proactive protection.