Many landowners place a high value on providing good wildlife habitat both for the pleasure of seeing wildlife on the property as well as feeling that you are doing what you can for wildlife in your area.
It is important to think about the type of wildlife you are interested in attracting and the type of habitat those species use. Management typically follows the “if you build it they will come” philosophy. In other words, concentrate on providing the habitat needs of your species of choice and they will find it. However, it should be noted that with every management practice undertaken you are changing the habitat on your property. This will be good for some wildlife and bad for others.
Often, landowners don’t often have a particular wildlife species in mind and are instead looking to increase the overall level of biodiversity. To do this it is important to provide a variety of habitat to support a wide range of species including mammals, birds, amphibians, and aquatic life.
150 years ago, much of Massachusetts was cleared for agriculture. Since the farms were abandoned during a relatively short period of time, many of our forests grew up at the same time. These forests have continued to grow creating similar aged forests across the state. This uniform age forest creates the need for two types of forests: 1)old forests with old growth characteristics and 2) very young. Habitat management for biodiversity often includes trying to create young forests, early successional habitat, by harvesting trees or by developing old-growth characteristics in your woods through either active or passive management. There are also incentive programs for landowners to create habitat for at risk species. Learn more about landowner programs.
When looking at habitat it is critical to look beyond your own stone walls to see what is happening in the landscape in which you live. You do not need to provide every need for every species. Wildlife does not stop at boundaries! Animals such as moose and black bears use 1,000 acres. Your property is a part of a larger whole. As such, you may choose to change the conditions on your property to either diversify your property from what is happening around you or you may choose to help add to existing habitat to improve it