Published on February 12, 2008
Restoring Habitat: Restoring Habitat Habitat – what is it?: Habitat – what is it? Habitat (which is Latin for "it inhabits") is the place where a particular species lives and grows. It is essentially the environment—at least the physical environment—that surrounds (influences and is utilized by) a species population. We use "species population" instead of "organism" here because, while it is possible to describe the habitat of a single black bear, we generally mean not any particular or individual bear, but the grouping of bears that comprise a breeding population and occupy a certain geographical area. Further, this habitat could be somewhat different from the habitat of another group or population of black bears living elsewhere. Thus, it is neither the species, nor the individual, for which the term habitat is typically used. A microhabitat or microenvironment is the immediate surroundings and other physical factors of an individual plant or animal within its habitat. However, the term "habitat" can be used more broadly in ecology. It was originally defined as the physical conditions that surround a species, or species population, or assemblage of species, or community (Clements and Shelford, 1939). Thus, it is not just a species population that has a habitat, but an assemblage of many species, living together in the same place that essentially share a habitat. Ecologists would regard the habitat shared by many species to be a biotope. Habitat: Habitat General components Food Water Cover Others not always considered Space Arrangement Ability to access components Habitat Needs are Generally Species Specific: Habitat Needs are Generally Species Specific SAGE GROUSE PRONGHORN LARK SPARROW Sage Grouse: Sage Grouse open areas with less herbaceous and shrub cover than surrounding areas leks appear to be located in sparser shrubby vegetation typically surrounded by potential nesting habitat, and are adjacent to relatively dense sagebrush stands Leks or Breeding Areas Sage Grouse: Sage Grouse most nests are located under sagebrush plants greater spring forb cover, and tall grass cover greater sagebrush height and canopy cover Nesting Habitat Sage Grouse: Sage Grouse Less live sagebrush and total shrub cover* Shorter average sagebrush heights* More total herbaceous cover* *Compared to nesting habitat Early Brood-rearing Habitat Sage Grouse: Sage Grouse Taller sagebrush Greater sagebrush canopy cover Typically on south- or southwest-facing aspects Winter Habitat Pronghorn: Pronghorn 1) Vegetation Quality Rating Forbs (0-20 pts) Grasses (0-5 pts) Shrubs (0-10 pts) 2) Vegetation Quantity Rating (1-10 pts) Habitat Suitability Model (7 major criteria) Pronghorn: Pronghorn 3) Vegetation Height Rating (1-10 pts) 4) Vegetation Diversity Rating Forbs – 0-15 pts Grasses – 0-10 pts Shrubs – 0-10 pts Habitat Suitability (cont’d) Pronghorn: Pronghorn 5) Water availability rating 0-10 pts 6) Water quantity rating 0-10 pts 7)Limiting Factors (can subtract 60 pts) Fences; Snow Depth; Habitat Disturbance. Habitat Suitability (cont’d) Other Species: Other Species Some Key Variables to Consider: Some Key Variables to Consider Structure – Vegetative Heights Vegetative Classes (eg grasses, forbs and shrubs) Diversity – Numbers of vegetative species and vegetative classes Rangeland Site Potential or Capability Wildlife species and other needs - Balance Ecological Site Potential: Ecological Site Potential NRCS – Ecological Site Descriptions Successional Dynamics/Transitions Species list of vegetation that could occur on the specific sites (e.g. Loamy, Shallow Loamy, etc.) Addresses site potential and gives information on Historic Climax Plant Community Website: http://efotg.nrcs.usda.gov/efotg_locator.aspx?map=WY What about the Landscape?: What about the Landscape? Considerations pertaining to wildlife should also include what may needed or lacking on a landscape scale. Excerpts from the “Wildlife Reclamation Manual”: Excerpts from the “Wildlife Reclamation Manual” Depuit (1982) suggested the following in relation to seed mixtures: Include species of varying seasonal growth patterns (phenologies) Include species with different growth forms (above and below ground) Calculate appropriate seed rates for individual species based upon differences in characteristics (vigor, competitiveness, etc.) and ultimate composition objectives. Website: http://www.ott.wrcc.osmre.gov/library/hbmanual/handbook.htm More Excerpts: More Excerpts Forbs Adapted legumes can increase total production when used with grasses. They also improve the forage nutritive value for many wildlife species. A diversity of vegetation can provide plants that may have attributes which make them valuable during different parts of the year Shrubs: Shrubs Important Attributes Structure Cover Snow Accumulation Moisture conservation Forage and Cover in severe snow years Increased diversity Aesthetic enhancement Winter Nutrition Importance of Localized Seed Collections: Importance of Localized Seed Collections May have specific attributes not found in existing seed sources – Gosiute sage and associated palatability for mule deer Adaptability – potential differences Genetic variability Habitat Restoration - Conclusion: Habitat Restoration - Conclusion Dependent upon species and season Structure and Diversity are Important Address needs from a successional and landscape scale objectives where possible QUESTIONS?: QUESTIONS?