Guidelines and Principles There are various principles from Conservation Biology and Landscape Ecology that are relevant for guiding wildlife habitat protection and development design that can minimize the impact on native wildlife and ensure their sustainability into the future. (1) General Guideline (Johnson et. al. 2004)
a. Matrix: Manage the matrix to benefit wildlife. The matrix is the area often surrounding protected wildlife habitat and having a land-use matrix of lower intensity land uses and/or other wildlife-friendly features will help sustain wildlife populations near or in suburban or urban areas.
b. Patches: Whenever possible, habitat patches should be larger than smaller, close together, and have idodiametric shapes (circular or square versus long and thin) to minimize negative edge effects. Corridors between patches are also important. c. Corridors: Corridors help functionally connect patches so that animals have enough habitat to survive, can move seasonally as habitat needs change, provide opportunities for genetic exchange to facilitate maintenance of genetic diversity, or over the long term adapt to environmental change including climate change.d. Structure: Vertical and horizontal diversity of important for creating different niches that both provide more living space for more native species and greater resources to sustain wildlife populations as conditions change seasonally or during droughts, floods, fires or other disturbances.(2) Principles (Bond, 2003) a. Wildland-Urban Interface Corridor Features Design and Management Principles
What do wildlife conservationists do
Corridors are important for providing functional connectivity and there are special considerations for maintaining corridors and designing wildlife crossing structures under or over highways. They include:
- Be at least 1,000 feet wide but as wide as possible.
- If near culverts, maintain as much natural open space as possible.
- Maximize land uses that reduce human impacts adjacent to the corridor and applying similar surrounding habitat within corridors for offsetting isolation effects.
- If houses are permitted adjacent to the corridor:
- Put conservation easements on adjacent lots to prohibit structures nearest the corridor to provide functional buffers.
- Develop strict lighting restrictions to prevent light pollution: lights must be erected downward and inward toward the home.
- Require the Homeowner’s association: for fire abatement, each homeowner needs to maintain a 30-60 feet wide buffer on their property along with a flat or slightly sloped grade between corridor vegetation and each adjacent lot.
- No wood fences are allowed in the corridor and along any adjacent lots.
- No free-roaming domestic pets like cats and dogs are allowed in the corridor.
- Other than bird feeders, no feeding of wild animals should be allowed.
- Install educational signs about the corridor and the species that could potentially use the corridor.
Educate each landowner adjacent to the corridor about the regulations through pamphlets and meetings.
- Vegetation Management Principles
- Require maintenance or restoration of native vegetation, and long-term management.
- Provide an adequate endowment for restoration and management of patches and corridors.
- Culvert Design Principles
- If the under-bridge space can be used for animal passing, adapt that; but if not possible, use a 12’ × 12’ or bigger box culvert instead.
- Install a 1-foot diameter tube parallel to the large box culvert for small animals. The upstream end of the small tube should be a few inches higher than the bottom of the upstream end of the box culvert for staying dry and free of debris.
- The culvert bottoms should be as close as possible to any canyon bottom and not be perched up a fill slope.
- Use natural substrate on the bottom of the culvert, such as dirt with pebbles. Underlay the natural substrate with cobbled concrete. Replace the dirt when necessary (i.e., if it is washed out).
- On the road above the culverts, install speed bumps and wildlife crossing signs to slow the cars, and prohibit street lighting to facilitate the use of the crossing.
- Plant and maintain lots of vegetative cover (shrubs and low cover) near the entrance-exits of the culverts, without visually or physically blocking the entries.
- • Install appropriate fencing (at least 6 feet in height) to funnel animals towards the culverts. 2.2.2 Criteria and Parameters for Evaluating and Designing Corridors
What is the most important factor affecting wildlife survival
A target species may be any species that have the greatest need for a corridor to survive, or an “umbrella species’ whose protection will likely provide benefits to the greatest number of other species. Current wildlife corridor designers place an increased emphasis on the need to design corridors specifically for native, conservation-priority target species including fragmentation sensitive species and wide-ranging species (Mckenzie, 1995).
Corridor Species Groups
Beier and Loe divide the corridor species group into two general types: the passage species and corridor dwellers (Beier, 1992).
McEuen defines six species categories that might be important to corridor theory and research. They are edge and interior species, exotic and native species, regionally abundant and regionally rare species, generalists and specialist species, coarse-grain and fine-grain species, naturally fragmented and naturally continuous habitat species (McEuen, 1993).
(2) Movement and Habitat Types on Wildland-Urban Interface
Stenseth and Lidicker refer to three types of movement in corridors and three types of habitat. The three types of movement are Dispersal (one-way movement away from a home site), migration (round trip movements) and home range movements (Stenseth, 1992). The three habitat types are transitional habitat (suitable only for movement of a disperser), marginal habitat (allows survival and sometimes reproduction) and survival habitat (“good habitat” in which both survival and reproduction can occur) (Stenseth, 1992).
What is the key to wildlife survival
Beier and Loe developed the corridor design and evaluation model that is wildly used in wildlife conservation, which contains six crucial steps:
Step 1: Identify the habitat areas the corridor is designed to connect.
Step 2: Select several target species for the design of the corridor (i.e. umbrella species)
Step 3: Evaluate the relevant needs of each target species.
Step 4: For each potential corridor, evaluate how the area will accommodate movement by each target species.
Step 5: Draw the corridor on a map.
Step 6: Design a monitoring program 2.2.3 Corridor Types
Riparian Areas are functionally defined as areas with three-dimensional ecotones of interaction that include both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (Ilhardt et al., 2000). They extend down into the groundwater, up above the canopy, outward across the floodplain, up the near-slopes that drain into the water, laterally into the terrestrial ecosystem, and along the watercourse at a variable width (Ilhardt et al., 2000). You can also get detailed information in the conserve wildlife essay. A Riparian Corridor, on the other hand, is a management prescription area designed to include much of the Riparian Area (USDA, 2014). Within the riparian corridor management prescription area, management practices are specified to maintain riparian functions and values (USDA, 2014). As a management prescription area, this includes corridors along all defined perennial and intermittent stream channels that show signs of scour, and around natural ponds, lakeshores, Wetlands, springs, and seeps (USDA, 2014). The riparian buffer and connectivity analysis that is used in this project is intended to identify riparian corridors or swaths that can provide water quality buffering, wildlife habitat, and ecological connectivity (Hoctor et al., 2018). (2) Xeric Natural Community Connectivity
Topic on wildlife often continues to be topical. The xeric connectivity analysis used in this project is intended to identify functionally connected patches of primary xeric natural community through surrounding compatible landcover and land use classes on xeric soils (Hoctor et al. 2013). The goal was to identify potentially xeric-compatible rural lands connected to and near existing xeric natural communities that could provide opportunities for maintaining ecological connectivity for xeric-adapted upland species and restoring xeric natural communities to re-create larger, functional protected xeric ecosystems (Hoctor et al. 2018). This is also found in the essay on hunting animals, you can learn more about it. The xeric connectivity analysis method was first applied in the Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN) project (Hoctor et al. 2013).
The United State Forest Service identifies prescribed fire as a planned fire used to meet management objectives (U.S. Forest Service). The Forest Service manages prescribed fires and even some wildfires to benefit natural resources and reduce the risk of unwanted wildfires in the future (U.S. Forest Service). The prescribed fire benefits fire-dependent wildlife species such as northern bobwhite, wild turkey, Florida grasshopper sparrow, Florida-scrub jay, red-cockaded woodpecker, gopher tortoise, indigo snake and fox squirrel. However, smoke is recognized as a primary challenge for prescribed burning for two reasons: public health and safety (Burke et al. 2012). Smoke contains air pollutants; fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone precursors are the primary pollutants of concern (Burke et al. 2012). Pine-dominated natural communities, scrub, and dry prairie are all require prescribed fire and call for smoke management. Therefore, smoke buffers around such lands has the function to protect public health and safety by ensuring fire and smoke hazards can be minimized.