The Basics of Population Dynamics

All forms of wildlife, regardless of the species, will respond to changes in habitat, hunting or trapping, and weather conditions with fluctuations in animal numbers. Most landowners have probably experienced changes in wildlife abundance from year to year without really knowing why there are fewer individuals in some years than others. In many cases, changes in abundance are normal and to be expected. The purpose of the information presented here is to help landowners understand why animal numbers may vary or change. While a number of important concepts will be discussed, one underlying theme should always be remembered. Regardless of whether property is managed or not in any given year, there is always some change in the habitat, however small. Wildlife must adjust to this change and, therefore, no population is ever the same from one year to the next.

Forest Succession

Succession is the natural replacement of plant or animal species, or species associations, in an area over time. When we discuss forest succession, we are usually talking about replacement of tree species or tree associations.

Wetland Ecology: Value and Conservation

Wetlands are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life. In spite of the efforts of the federal government, individual states, and private organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, wetlands (and consequently waterfowl and other wetland wildlife species) have declined at an alarming rate. A report to Congress estimated that 53 percent or more of the original wetlands in this country have been destroyed in the past 200 years.

Wildlife and Forest Stewardship

Developing forestland to continually produce timber and provide wildlife habitat requires an active management plan. Forest stewardship, the process of managing all of the forest’s natural resources together, enables us to conserve our forest resources, including timber, wildlife, soil, and water. Forestry and wildlife management are not only compatible, they are interrelated. Managing for wildlife habitat can even improve forest productivity. This publication describes the basic concepts of management, showing how forestry operations affect wildlife habitat.

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