Wildlife and Soils

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					Wildlife and Soils

   Chapter 12
          Wildlife and Soils

Soils affect the productivity and quality of
aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Soils affect fish and wildlife:
                Soil Fertility

Soil type and fertility have a direct bearing on:

vegetation growing in an area
water quality in an aquatic ecosystem
      vegetation                     soil

              Soil Texture

Soils are classified according to texture:



Soil Texture Triangle
    Ground Squirrels and Soils

Burrows of Richardson's ground squirrel
in Minnesota are located in loams.

Clay loams are too wet and sandy soils do
not support burrows.
          Prairie Dogs and Soils

Prairie dogs build
burrows in a wide
variety of soils, but
will only do
digging in rocky or
sandy soils.
Pocket Gophers and Soils
    Other Wildlife Uses of Soils

Mud nests- many species

Oven birds in Africa- nest made of mud,
heats up and acts as an incubator

Cliff swallows- mud nests

South American treefrog- small basins to
hold water for eggs and larvae
       Wildlife and Soil Fertility

In fertile soils:
• wildlife populations are larger
• populations are more productive
• populations achieve a higher quality
• populations respond better to management
          Fish and Soil Fertility

Fish size and production are greatest in
nutrient rich waters.
          Fish and Soil Fertility

Abundant nutrients stimulate algal production-
the base of the aquatic food chain.

This is good for anglers, however, boaters
and property owners frequently complain that
the water is too green.
        Wildlife and Selenium

Selenium is a micronutrient- too little (0.05
ppm), in the diet of grazing animals may
lead to development of muscular dystrophy
or "white muscle disease."
         Wildlife and Selenium

Selenium is deficient in certain types of soil
but this most often occurs in those of
volcanic origin

Mountain goats in British Columbia often
show symptoms of white muscle disease
           Selenium Toxicity
Two common livestock diseases, "alkali
disease" and "blind staggers", result from
livestock foraging on certain plants growing
on soils with a high selenium content.

“Loco Weed”
          Wildlife and Iodine

Iodine poor soils- deer experience a high
incidence of goiter

Thyroid glands are 3x the normal size

Geophagy- feeding on earth or soils to
obtain nutrients or grit for the crops of birds
                Salt Licks

Ruminants (elk, deer) are attracted to
natural salt licks. As we have seen, sodium
is essential for many body functions

Salt also attracts other animals such as
rodents and birds
           Wildlife and Salt

Mourning doves concentrate around saline
ponds associated with oil and natural gas
drilling in the Midwest

Shooting at these pits had to be outlawed
   Case Study: Elk being Killed Illegally

DUBOIS, Wyo. — Ranger Bob Jackson has
been catching poachers for 21 years, but he's
at a loss to combat the latest threat to
Yellowstone National Park's wildlife.
Jackson says hunters and guides just outside
the park's southern boundary, and therefore
outside his jurisdiction, are illegally salting the
ground to lure trophy elk out of the park so the
animals can be hunted.
Hunters have used a number of salting
methods over the decades to attract elk,
including placing blocks of salt in the forest or
pouring rock salt on the ground. Elk lick the
salted earth, creating pits up to 20 feet in
diameter and several feet deep.

By Elisabeth A. Wright, Associated Press,
November 6, 2000
   New York Hunting Regulations

It is unlawful to: Make, set or use a salt lick
on land inhabited by deer or bear
           Salt and Wildlife

Macaws eat salty soils- "Polly want a

Honey bees and swallowtail butterflies are
attracted to salt
Scarlet Macaws
Moose licking salt from road
Road Kill Moose