Selected Habitat Management Documents & Resources
The documents below are useful in learning about different management practices and finding other related habitat information.
Best Management Practices for Controlling Invasive Plants --Following the guidelines presented in this document will reduce the risk of introducing invasive species during habitat management activities. Bringing in equipment and personnel from other areas without thorough cleaning presents a risk of introducing invasive species by spreading propagules.
Forestry Conservation Management Practices for Rare Species--Forestry Conservation Management Practices (CMPs) are specific, science- based guidelines for conservation of rare species during forest harvesting. CMPs specialize in protection of rare wildlife. The primary objective of CMPs is to guide harvesting activities such that rare species listed under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA) are not impacted in a way that jeopardizes long-term viability of local populations.
Mowing Advisory Guidelines for Turtle Habitat: Pastures, Successional Fields, and Hayfields --These guidelines are intended to avoid or minimize any detrimental effect of habitat management on Wood Turtle or Box Turtle populations. These measures will likely also benefit other turtle species, such as the Stinkpot and Spotted Turtle.
MA Division of Fisheries
and Wildlife Habitat Information Webpage -- Because the Division
cannot accomplish the task of wildlife and habitat management alone,
partnerships and other kinds of support from other state agencies, conservation
organizations, communities, and individual landowners is key to conserving
the natural diversity of the Commonwealth for residents and visitors
to appreciate and enjoy.
Requesting Information or Reporting State-Listed Species --Are there State-Listed Species on your property? - If the DFW has a record of a State-Listed Species on your property you may request that information. If you are requesting information for habitat management or conservation purposes (i.e. A LIP grant for Species-at-risk Habitat Management) and you are a non-profit conservation group, government agency or working with a government agency (MassWildlife LIP), fill out a Data Release Form. Requests may be mailed to our Westborough address, with appropriate supporting documentation. Requests may also be faxed to (508) 389-7890. Questions may be directed to the NHESP Environmental Review Assistant at (508) 389-6360. Did you find a State-Listed Species on your Property? - You can Report Rare Species via the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species webpage.
- A guide for forest owners, harvesting practitioners and public officials.
Editors, Jeffery S. Ward, Thomas Worthley.
This is a great guide for landowners interested in LIP with forested lands on their property. This resource will walk you through how our forests were developed and give you an understanding of forest regeneration concepts, including the importance of disturbance. This information will help landowners make informed decisions about forest regeneration options tailored to their forest health and wildlife management objectives.
This handbook is divided into five sections:
- The first section provides a short history of the forest from the period of European colonization and large scale land clearing through the present suburban forest.
- The second section explains basic concepts in forest regeneration. The importance of different combinations of light, moisture, and soil in determining success or failure of regeneration is discussed. It then details the adaptations of different tree species to distinct combinations of light, moisture, and soil conditions.
- The third section examines the role of disturbance in maintaining habitat and species diversity. The influence distinct disturbance regimes have on forest composition is also explored.
- The fourth section introduces different methods (prescriptions) of forest management. The influence of each management style on the availability of light, moisture, and growing space for new regeneration is discussed. Because the primary reason for harvesting is often either income or a non-commodity amenity such as wildlife, the economic and esthetic considerations of each management method are also presented.
- The handbook concludes with a section detailing requirements to successfully regenerate specific species. As with the other sections, this section is not intended to be an authoritative reference, but rather to provide readers with sufficient information to make informed decisions about forest management options.
Wildlife Habitat Guide For Landowners - An easy-to-use guide for private landowners in New England for enhancing wildlife habitat quality, timber values, and the appearance of forest lands will be available in May. The Landowner's Guide to Wildlife Habitat: Forest Management for the New England Region is published by the University of Vermont Press/University Press of New England. The Landowner's Guide is a concise introduction to practical forest wildlife habitat management for private landowners. In non-technical terms, experts from the U.S. Forest Service provide useful information about plans that can improve forests, enhance production of forest products, increase the diversity of wildlife, and increase enjoyment of forest lands through sound forest management. The authors show how to determine what habitats will be used by various wildlife species, how to consider land capability and the mixture of habitat features necessary to attract desired species groups, and how to get started changing existing vegetative conditions through thoughtful management. Exceptional full-color illustrations, charts, and tables enhance the clear presentation of the text, geared specifically for landowners interested in getting started on improving habitat conditions on their land. Two of the authors are from Massachusetts: Richard DeGraaf, Leader of the U.S. Forest Service Wildlife Habitat Research Unit at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Anna Lester, a Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Forest Service Research Unit at Amherst. Guides are $16.95 and can be ordered by calling 1-800-421-1561, or you can order online.
Invasive Species Website - The USDA Forest Service - Northeast Area website contains a variety of resources about non-native invasive species. Featured sections include "Analysis of top invasive plant species for 20 Northeastern states based on 2005 Questionnaire data", a "Weed of the Week" fact sheet project, a Playbook that provides information and key contacts for invasive and exotic species programs in 20 Northeastern Area states, and the Eastern Native Resource Directory that helps users locate native plant materials.
New England Cottontails - Here in Massachusetts, there are two species of cottontail rabbits, the New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis) and the Eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus). New England cottontails were historically present in all 14 counties of Massachusetts. Prior to 1930, New England cottontails were the only cottontail species appearing among 59 reports, except for 7 from Nantucket where Eastern cottontails were introduced as early as the 1880s. Between 1924 and 1941, however, at least 16,200 Eastern cottontails were imported from the midwest and released statewide. Learn more about New England Cottontail habitat, learn why it is a Species-at-risk, and see a map of its distribution.
A Landowner's Guide to New England Cottontail Habitat Management (17 MB) , --A good reference for landowners interested in managing their land for New England cottontails (and other wildlife which depend on similar habitats). This document was published by the Environmental Defense Fund.
Assistance for Woodlot Management and Habitat Planning- Typically, most landowners go about their day-to-day routines and passively enjoy their woods. Like other things in life, it is often not until a trigger forces a decision about the sale of timber or land that you need to make an informed decision. MassWoods.net was developed to help landowners at these critical decision making times. Their goal is to provide accurate information to woodland owners when they need to make two critical decisions about the future of their land: 1) the potential sale of timber and 2) planning for the future of the property.
MassWoods.net features an interactive map to direct landowners to local resources to help them with their decisions. Service foresters, local land trusts, statewide land trusts and conservation organizations are all listed for each town across the state. These resources can be a great help to landowners when thinking about applying for a LIP grant.
American Woodcock - Woodcock populations have declined 2 to 4 percent per year since the early 1970's. Research has documented that the loss of young forest and shrubland habitats is the primary cause of their decline. Habitats used by woodcock in Massachusetts also support other high priority species in need of conservation action. State wildlife Action Plans list 59 species of "Greatest Conservation Need" that require young forest and shrubland habitats. This management information will help landowners make informed decisions about woodcock habitat management.
Northeast Upland Habitat Technical Committee Guide - The publication "Managing Grasslands, Shrublands, and Young Forests for Wildlife: A Guide for the Northeast" is available only online. Written primarily by state and federal wildlife biologists and foresters, this guide will provide you with important information on how to maintain and restore these habitats on the lands you own or manage. The guide was published by the Northeast Upland Habitat Technical Committee with assistance from MassWildlife.