November 03, 2011
Conservation Update: How To Make A Farm Friendly to Wildlife
By Bob Marshall
Future-Friendly Farming Report Just in Time
With Congress likely to chop funding for conservation sections of the Farm Bill, the timing couldn't be better for a new report from the National Wildlife Federation on wildlife-friendly farming practices. "Future Friendly Farming: Seven Agricultural Practices to Sustain People and the Environment" centers on these principles:
• Cover crops increase water management capacity, reduce erosion and nutrient loss, and improve wildlife habitat.
• Conservation tillage reduces erosion while increasing nesting cover for birds and wildlife.
• Organic farming eliminates chemical use, increases soil fertility and increases wildlife habitat.
• Grassland management boosts soil fertility, biodiversity, and grassland ecosystem health.
• Forest management increases soil fertility and biodiversity.
• Anaerobic digesters reduce threats to water quality and provide local renewable electric and thermal energy.
• Retaining and returning land to native ecosystems increases biodiversity, wildlife habitat, and improves water quality. While aimed at large landowners, many of the steps can be used even in backyards and on hunting leases.
New Tools Available for Teaching Conservation
Securing the future of the great fish and wildlife resources built by our forefathers can only be accomplished with the understanding of the next generation. Educating those newcomers just got easier with the introduction of three new tools from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
"Benchmarks for Conservation Literacy," "Outdoors Skills Education Handbook" and "Sustainable Tomorrow - A Teachers' Guidebook for Applying Systems to Environmental Education Curricula" can be viewed and downloaded at the AFWA site.
This effort is a continuation of the group's North American Conservation Education Strategy (CE Strategy) to connect more people, especially youth, to the outdoors and increase our nation’s understanding of how fish and wildlife and their habitats are conserved. They are designed to be used not only by state fish and wildlife agencies but also non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with state departments of education, school districts, school administrators and teachers.
Climate Change Coming to a Wildlife Habitat Near You
With the election season centering on the economy, almost every issue is being defined by its impacts on the nation's bottom line. Which is why every report showing the costly impacts of environmental harm is important ammunition for sportsmen fighting to protect fish and wildlife habitat.
The latest example is the record drought in Texas. Already estimated to have cost Texas $5 billion, the economic impacts of that disaster are now forecast to ripple through the entire world. And while Texas Gov. Rick Perry may deny the climate is changing, the state's chief climatologist disagrees--and says this drought is directly linked to warming.
A good round-up of the steady drum-beat of warming confirmation is contained in this recent report.