The Affects of Production
Agriculture on Wildlife
Original by Cliff Tippens
Modified by the Georgia Agricultural
Education Curriculum Office
What is Production
Production agriculture is raising
domesticated plants and animals for the
consumption of humans.
Examples in Georgia:
The Foundation of
Soil is the weathered outer layer of the
Earth’s crust that supports life.
Soil is NOT dirt!
Dirt is simply soil that is out of place and
cannot support life.
The Ideal Soil Type
5% organic material
45% soil minerals
25% soil gases
25% soil water
A soil profile is a vertical view of the
soil’s layers or horizons.
Horizons are horizontal layers of soil
that can be delineated by texture.
A soil profile can be seen in road
ditches and excavation sites.
Soil Profile with Horizons
Direct correlation to size of soil
Effective Rooting Depth
Effective rooting depth is the measure
of how deep plant roots can penetrate
Sand often has the deepest ERD.
ERD is affected if there is a hard pan or
compacted layer of subsoil.
Agricultural Uses of Soil
Cropland is land on which the soil is worked
and crops are planted, cared for, and
Grazing land is planted in perennial forage in
order for livestock to have free range.
Forest are grown to provide humans with
wood products such as paper and lumber.
Agriculture’s Adverse Affects
Sedimentation of local streams from
erosion of poorly managed fields.
Mutation and other harmful affects of
misuse of agriculture chemicals.
Loss of habitat due to expansion of
Poor tillage practices result in loss of
rich topsoil through erosion.
Soil particles and chemicals such as
pesticides and fertilizers are washed
into local streams and other waterways.
Affects of Sedimentation
Lower dissolved oxygen levels
Streams become narrow and slow
moving which can increase chances of
Fertilizer runoff like nitrogen can cause
Practices to Counteract
Plowing on the contour
No till farming
Grass covered drainage ways
Streamside Management Zones
When used inappropriately, both have
adverse affects on the environment.
Results of Chemicals
Nitrogen and other fertilizers can cause
algae blooms and fish kills.
DDT and other pesticides build up in
plants and animals and cause unnatural
mutations like thinner egg shells.
DDT has been outlawed for use in the
Ways to Prevent Misuse
Always follow instructions on
If not qualified, pay a professional.
Only apply the required amount.
Never over apply.
Consult someone with experience.
100% of humans are feed by 2% of the
Farmland capacity is reaching its peek.
Urban sprawl is forcing farmers to use
all of the land available to them.
Land that was once considered wildlife
habitat is being converted into farmland.
Wetlands are being drained to cultivate
their rich soil.
Wetland to Farmland
Characteristics of a Wetland
Anaerobic conditions are present
long enough to prevent iron oxidation
giving the soil a gray or brown color.
Hydrophytes Present Year-round
Vegetation that grows in a wet
environment like cat tail.
Water being present for extended
periods of time.
Hydrology varies depending on the
type of wetland.
People and Wildlife
Filter pollutants from water
Drainage into wetlands reduces risk
Rich Vegetation and food sources
Managing a Farm with Wildlife
Things to consider
Desired species to manage
Cost of management
Why Should We Care???
Wildlife is key to a healthy ecosystem.
Aesthetic value of wildlife
Financial benefit of leasing hunting
Hunting for sport or sustenance
Managing for Bobwhite Quail
Disking of hedge rows, fence rows, and
Plant annual grains like corn, Egyptian
wheat, and grain sorghum.
Plantings should always be in strips
and left fallow the next year.
Grazing Land Improvement
Heavy grazing by cattle on quail habitat
detrimentally affects quail population
Set aside field corners, fence rows, and
drainage ways for quail habitat.
Managing for the Mourning
Due to range of the Mourning Dove,
localized management is more difficult.
Leave strips of unharvested crops.
Millet is preferred.
Plant in strips.
Managing for Ruffed Grouse
Downed trees and other debris should
be left for cover
Edges are used for travel and cover
Managing for Rabbits
Allow corners and edges to grow in
blackberry, honeysuckle, plum, or other
Allow cover stripes to go and allow the
rabbits access to more of the field.
Basal area of pines at 50 to 65 square
feet per acre
Small scattered openings throughout
Managing for the Gray and
Gray Squirrel Fox Squirrel
Leave hardwood corridors along
Clearcuts should be a maximum of 50
Combine prescribed burning with
Always leave at least one den tree for
nesting while harvesting.
Fertilize to increase mast production.
Protect understory trees, shrubs, and
Agriculture can be harmful to wildlife.
Sedimentation of waterways
Misuse of Agricultural Chemicals
Agriculture and wildlife can co-exist.
Farmers must manage their lands for
the betterment of wildlife.
Different species have varying needs of
habitat, food, and cover.
Wildlife can be managed to the benefit