Using your wildlife conservation plan and natural resources inventory as a guide, you can start working on conservation projects to protect important habitats in your community. Habitat protection is often one of the primary reasons many landowners choose to conserve their land. Now is the time to initiate conversations with landowners who may be interested voluntarily conserving their land for wildlife habitat. Learn from some landowners who conserved their land with wildlife in mind.
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.
Managing habitat for wildlife can require some out-of-pocket expenses for landowners. The good news is that programs exist to off-set costs. UNH Cooperative Extension maintains a simple overview of the programs available to landowners in NH. A good first stop to learn about financial assistance is to contact your local UNH Cooperative Extension county forester to learn what programs might fit your land and your interests.
Farmland provides biological diversity in the landscape, benefiting a number of wildlife species. Farmers can adapt agricultural practices to increase ecosystem stability in the face of environmental change, benefiting both wildlife and agricultural yield. Grassland habitats (such as hayfields) benefit a variety of wildlife species. especially grassland-nesting birds that require large tracts of grassland, typically 25 acres or larger, for food, cover and breeding.
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.
Land conservation needs funding! There are costs involved in purchasing the land or purchasing a conservation easement. Even if the easement or the land is donated, there are still costs associated with a land conservation project, e.g. appraisal and survey costs, legal fees, land trust costs, etc. Partnering with a land trust that has an interest in the land being conserved is recommended, especially since they can help locate and apply for funding sources when they work in partnership with a community.
Invasive insects and diseases can have devastating impacts on the managed and natural environments into which they are introduced. These introduced pests can have serious negative impacts on agricultre and forestry. Some invasive pests of concern in New Hampshire right now include emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, and asian longhorned beetle (not yet in NH, but nearby).
Conservation and education organizations throughout New Hampshire offer a variety of workshops and trainings focused on wildlife habitats, forest management, and good stewardship. Attending one of these workshops can provide a great learning experience and often involves a chance to go in the field to observe the natural resources or management being discussed, interaction with professionals, and learning from the experiences of others. Workshops can range from short indoor presentations to day-long outdoor field trips.
While there has been a regional focus on the lack of and need to create young, early-successional habitat in recent years, there is also recognition and consensus from wildlife biologists about the importance of older, late-successional forests for wildlife. Many of the components of these mature forests - large living and dead trees and downed woody material, for example - are important to a variety of wildlife species.
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.