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Working Trees
                 for Wildlife
     Working Trees
   provide wildlife
      habitat and
   contribute to the
 social and economic
     well-being of
   landowners and
community residents.

                                                                                 Photo by Steven Katovich, U S D A Forest Service

S    ustaining quality wildlife
     habitat is challenging,
especially where agricultural
                                      that are in the right place to do a
                                      specific job. Whether Working
                                      Trees come in the form of a
                                                                            corridors for wildlife. But,
                                                                            remember, not all wildlife
                                                                            species are benefited by trees.
fields offer little plant diversity   windbreak to enhance crop or
                                                                            Integrating Working Trees onto
and in suburban areas where           livestock production or a riparian
                                                                            the land can add a new source
human development has                 forest buffer to filter stormwater
                                                                            of income, improve our
fragmented the landscape.             runoff, they add critical wildlife
                                                                            environment, conserve natural
                                      habitat to the landscape.
Increasingly, these areas are                                               resources, increase property
managed primarily for people.         The benefits of Working Trees         values, and save time, energy,
But, an amazing variety of            extend far beyond providing           and water.
animals call the same areas home      food, cover, and nesting sites –
                                                                            Read on to discover how
and depend on us to make sure         all essential wildlife habitat
                                                                            Working Trees support a
that their needs are met.             components. Working Trees
                                                                            seemingly endless variety of
                                      add diversity and help reconnect
Working Trees are trees and                                                 wildlife, while they enhance
                                      the landscape by creating travel
shrubs, especially native species,                                          property, income, and our lives.
What Is Habitat?
All animals need a unique combination                                   Territory                                                                                                 Nocturnal
of food, water, cover, and territory. This                                                                                                                                 animals, like the
                                                                        Animals move                                                                                    pocketed free-tailed
environment in which an animal lives is                                                                                                                                    bat, sleep during
called habitat and how these features are                               daily, searching
                                                                                                                                                                            the day and are
woven together on the land affects the                                  for food, or as                                                                                      active at night.
quality of their habitat. All of these habitat                          they migrate to wintering or                                                                     Original photo by Merlin Tuttle,
                                                                                                                                                                         Bat Conservation International.
requirements must be met as animal’s                                    breeding grounds. Home range                                                                              Used with permission.

needs change throughout the seasons.                                    varies from less than one acre for beetles
                                                                        to thousands of square miles for bears.

Food                                                                    Water                                                            Cover
Most wildlife have food preferences and                                 Almost all animals need access to clean                          Animals use all tiers of Working Trees,
diets that change with the seasons.                                     water to survive – some simply need                              from the tree canopy down to burrows
Trees and shrubs provide seeds, berries,                                drinking water, while others depend on                           in the ground. They breed, roost, nest,
nuts, and fruits. Some animals also eat                                 water to reproduce and live. Agroforestry                        rear young, regulate body temperature,
the leaves, twigs, roots, buds, stems,                                  practices protect water quality and                              hide, and escape predation in tall grasses,
grasses, mosses, and lichens that are                                   provide travel lanes to water sources like                       dense shrubs, leaf litter, downed logs,
found in a woody environment.                                           farm ponds, streams, and wetlands.                               stumps, rock piles, and brush piles.

                                                                     Migratory birds, like the American tree sparrow, spend the winter
                                                                           in the U S and migrate to northern Canada to breed and nest.
                                                                                                     Original photo by Dave Menke, U S Fish & Wildlife Service

Social                                                                                                                                   Educational
Working Trees and wildlife provide a                                                                                                     In a Working Trees outdoor classroom,
sense of place to an area and attract                                                                                                    students learn to identify plants and
families, nature photographers, bird-                                                                                                    animals as they become aware of the
watchers, and those who like to hunt                                                                                                     importance of balanced human and
and fish. The linear configuration of                                                                                                    environmental interactions.
some Working Trees practices makes
them well suited for a trail oriented                                                                                                                       Bumblebees are important crop
                                                                                                                                                               and wildflower pollinators.
recreation like walking or bicycling.                                                         Photo by Keith Weller, U S D A N R C S                                  Original photo by Richard Straight,
                                                                                                                                                                     U S D A National Agroforestry Center

Environmental                                                           Economic
Trees and shrubs clear toxic elements                                   Working Trees and wildlife
from water and absorb runoff, reduce                                    support a billion dollar
        flooding and erosion, replenish                                 industry of non-game
          oxygen, cleanse the air, and                                  wildlife appreciation.
          enrich and restore soil.                                      Working Trees provide habitat for
                                                                        native pollinating insects that provide
   Amphibians live part of their life in water                          another billion dollars worth of pollinat-
 and part on land. Green tree frogs are
                                                                        ing services. Properly designed, Working
drawn to open, damp areas and can be
found hidden under flakes of bark on trees.                             Trees can reduce work and home energy
Original photo by Laurie Reid, South Carolina Forestry Commission.      consumption.





   Make A Difference In Your Neighborhood, Your Landscape
Every landscape area has a dominant           species prefer the patches and corridors. In    patch or travel corridor to connect other
landcover, most likely woodland, grassland,   many cases, humans have altered, reduced,       patches of habitat. To help reestablish
row crop, or urban land. Patches and          and even eliminated natural areas and the       suitable habitat, first identify regional
corridors like streams, fence rows, roads,    vegetative diversity that wildlife depend on,   landscape patterns around you. Then devise
woodlots, or urbanized areas dissect this     creating a “fragmented” landscape.              a plan that will have the greatest impact for
dominant cover. Some wildlife species         Working Trees help offset fragmentation by      wildlife in your area. Work with your
inhabit the dominant area, while other        providing basic habitat, often a diverse        neighbors to have even greater impact.
Working Trees And Wildlife

A. Forest Farming                          B. Riparian Forest Buffers                   C. Windbreaks
High value specialty crops like ginseng    Vegetative buffers along waterways create    Properly designed and located wind-
and goldenseal can be cultivated under     travel corridors for wildlife. While the     breaks protect soil, crops, livestock,
the protection of a forest canopy. This    tree canopy reduces water temperature,       buildings, and wildlife from harsh winds.
provides a harvestable product for the     roots and fallen debris provide food and     Over 50 bird species are known to use
landowner which provides incentive to      hiding places for aquatic animals.           windbreaks during the breeding season.
keep the land in forest habitat. The       Riparian buffers filter nutrient-laden       The microclimate that windbreaks create
diversity created with forest farming      runoff from adjacent land to improve         enable native insects to pollinate crops
attracts a variety of wildlife species.    water quality.                               more efficiently.

D. Alley Cropping                          E. Silvopasture                              F. Special Applications
Alley cropping systems are designed to     Silvopastures combine trees, forage, and     Many Working Trees practices have been
grow an annual crop between rows of        livestock in an intensively managed          adapted to help people and communities
high value trees, like oak, pecan, or      system. Silvopastures are typically less     deal with problems, such as wastewater
walnut, until the trees are harvested or   diverse than a natural forest understory,    and stormwater treatment, with fast
the alley crops are shaded out.            but incorporating clumps of native grasses   growing willows and cottonwood trees.
Alley cropping diversifies                    and forbs can provide quality habitat     These trees provide wildlife habitat and
plant structure for                            for wild turkey and other animals.       may be a future energy source.
wildlife habitat.

                                                                                         Working Trees help keep water clean and
                                                                                          cool for aquatic wildlife, like brook trout.
                                                                                             Original photo by Eric Engbretson, U S Fish & Wildlife Service.
Designing For Wildlife
                                                                                                                      Beneficial insects, like
                                                                                                                     the ladybird beetle, help
                                                                                                                          control insect pests.
                                                                                                                                   Original photo by
                                                                                                                                        Jon Sullivan.

Placement within landscape                       Diversity of vegetation                         Disturbance
The way elements are arranged within the         By combining a variety of native conifer-       Historically, fire, floods, wind, ice, and
larger landscape determines the habitat          ous and deciduous trees and shrubs and          wildlife browsing disturbed the land which in
value for different species. Having food,        including perennial and annual herbaceous       turn helped control invasive species and pro-
cover, and water located in the same             vegetation, summer and fall fruiting and        mote native plant growth. Today,
vicinity creates optimal habitat, and must       flowering dates are extended. Use native        vegetation can be managed by mowing,
consider the wildlife species’ normal range      plants whenever possible because they           disking, thinning, prescribed burning, and
of mobility. For example, if the desired         usually provide better habitat and are          grazing. The extent and timing of distur-
species seldom feeds more than 200 yards         adapted to local growing conditions. A          bances helps create diversity and structure.
from escape cover, it does little good to        mixture of vegetation reduces the               Timing can also minimize impact to wildlife,
provide cover a half mile from the food.         possibility of losing all plants to disease,    such as mowing after nesting is complete.
                                                 insects, or a catastrophic event.

Vertical structure                               Horizontal structure                            Travel lanes
Different layers of vegetation allow an          Arrange vegetation to provide the greatest      Many species of wildlife need a minimum
assortment of wildlife to utilize the same       width practical and transition smoothly         amount of a particular habitat type; if it
area. Each tier creates a niche in the habitat   into the adjoining land use. Incorporating      gets to be too small they won’t use it.
area. Five or more layers are optimal and        clump plantings under a tree canopy or          Vegetation can be used to connect several
include the canopy, understory, shrub layer,     along the outside edge improves horizontal      small isolated areas within a landscape, thus

herbaceous layer, and the floor.                 structure. Minimize straight lines in the       making it more viable and increasing the
                                                 design if possible.                             usable space for wildlife.

                                                                                            Consider wildlife conflicts
deer are a
                                                                                            When human habitats and natural habitats
popular game
animal. They                                                                                overlap, even in the best of circumstances,
are also valuable                                                                           conflicts like crop or yard damage can
as watchable wildlife                                                                       occur. Through proper planning and
and as a huntable                                                                           design these negative issues can be
resource.                                                                                   minimized or eliminated.
Original photo by Mark Gocke.
          Used with permission.
Get Started Today
Small changes that                               Minimize pesticide use                                             Have fun with the border
you make today                                   Pesticides can kill more than just                                 An unmowed grassy area alongside Working
                                                 target pests; they harm animals                                    Trees provides spring nesting areas and a fall
will add up to a big                             that eat the sprayed vegetation and                                seed supply. Irregular borders and curves
difference for                                        eliminate pollinators.                                        are aesthetically pleasing and provide room
                                                            Consider spot spraying                                  to add clumps of berry-producing shrubs
wildlife.                                                       or biological control                               that will attract all types of wildlife.
                                                                                                                    Many threatened and endangered species,
Raccoons                                                                                                            like the red cockaded woodpecker, are
prefer                                                                          Leave
                                                                                                                    benefited by permanent vegetation, such as
well-                                                                           snags                               a short-leaf pine silvopasture.
wooded                                                                                                              Original photo by Bill Lea, Southern Research Station,
areas. All                                                            A snag is a                                   U S D A Forest Service.

mammals                                                              deteriorating or
have hair                                                           dead standing
and produce
                                                                  tree. Over 85                                     Supply rocks and
milk to feed
                                                               North American                                       stone piles
their young.
Original photo by Terry                                     bird species rely on                                    Large flat rocks offer a
Spivey, U S D A Forest Service
                                                     snags to nest, feed, or seek                                   place for lizards, butterflies,
                                                 shelter. If they don’t pose a                                      chipmunks, snakes, and
Let the natural form                             hazard, leave snags standing.                                      skinks to bask in the sun,
dominate                                                                                                            which they need to do to
                                                 Provide artificial                                                 regulate body temperature.
Thickets, brush piles, and fallen
branches provide cover for rabbits,              shelters or food sources
thrushes, and snakes. Minimize                                                                                      Identify “host” plants
                                                 While your agroforestry planting
pruning to encourage natural                     develops into quality habitat,                                     Some animals are dependent on
diversity in the structure of plants.            erect special houses and feeders                                   a specific plant. Incorporate host
                                                 to attract bluebirds, purple                                       vegetation into your Working
Go native and think                              martins, bats, bees, or toads.                                     Trees planting.
                                                 Leave woody debris                                                 Provide perches
Native plants are adapted to local
soil, rainfall, and sunlight condi-              Limbs, rootwads, and whole trees                                   Eagles, hawks, and other raptors
tions; they are apt to thrive and                in streams supply food for critters                                like to perch on high branches
require less maintenance. Choose                 at the bottom of the food chain                                    from which they can spot prey.
plants that provide food through-                and create a place for small fish                                  Erect poles to provide perches
out the year.                                    to hide.                                                           until trees are established.

                                 Contact: USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC ), East Campus–UNL, Lincoln, Nebraska 68583–0822. Phone: 402–437–5178; fax:
                                 402–437–5712; Web site:
                                 The USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC ) is a partnership of the Forest Service (Research & Development and State & Private
                                 Forestry) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. It is administered by the Forest Service, Southern Research Station; its pro-
                                 gram manager and headquarters are located in Huntsville, AL, on the campus of Alabama A&M University, while its research, clearing-
                                 house, and technology transfer staff are concentrated in Lincoln, NE, at the University of Nebraska. NAC ’s purpose is to accelerate the
         A partnership of        development and application of agroforestry technologies to attain more economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable land use sys-
                                 tems. To accomplish its mission, NAC interacts with a national network of partners and cooperators to conduct research, develop tech-
                                 nologies and tools, establish demonstrations, and provide useful information to natural resource professionals.
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                                 require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the USDA ’s
                                 TARGET Center at 202–720–2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA , Director, Office of Civil
                                 Rights, Room 326–W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250–9410 or call 202–720–5964 (voice
                                 and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity employer.
                                 First Edition 1999, Second Printing 1999; Second Edition 2005; Third Edition 2007