May 1, 2012
Yep, wild turkeys.
There are only two species of wild turkeys in the world, and we’ve got them both right here in North America. Probably should be protecting them, eh?
Luckily for us, both turkey species regularly use wetlands at some point in their life cycle, so preserving their habitat doesn’t have to happen at the expense of other species. Indeed, wetland and grassland habitat provides ideal conditions both for brood rearing and for finding food. While many migrating and wintering waterfowl use moist-soil habitats for foraging in the fall, turkeys regularly feed in those same habitats in the spring once the flood waters have receded and a variety of vegetation starts blooming.
In order to protect the many species that use these moist-soil habitats, Ducks Unlimited has partnered with a range of public and private agencies to protect lands stretching from Mexico to Canada. Taking advantage of such programs as the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Habitat Partnership grants, Ducks Unlimited has been quite successful at preserving large, contiguous areas of habitat that will protect turkeys (and many other species) for generations to come.
To read more about their efforts, you can find more information by visiting the Ducks Unlimited website. If you have any photos of you bagging a wild turkey, we invite you to share the photo with us on our Facebook page!
February 29, 2012
[This is Part One of a two-part series, originally published on LandThink, investigating the economic potential for investing in the management of land, wildlife, biodiversity, and water resources. Part One covers economic incentives from government programs for establishing conservation practices. Part Two will address private sources of revenue that can be generated from establishing creative and multi-use land use practices and programming.]
On March 1, 1872, Congress signed into law an act that established Yellowstone National Park, the first of 58 protected areas to eventually be designated as national parks. Thus signaled the start of an era in national policy characterized by heavy public investment in conservation and land management.
As of 2010, 138 years later, the Bureau of Land Management held nearly 248 million acres of public land. However, this represents a decrease of two million acres from 2009 and a decrease of 5.5 million acres from 2008. This reduction reflects an effort on the part of public officials who would prefer to see the federal government take a more limited role in conservation efforts while also using the revenue from sales of public lands to pay down the national debt. It also demonstrates a shifting priority away from direct public investment in conservation through outright land purchases and toward providing incentives to individuals and organizations to purchase and manage the land themselves.
While some see this shift as troubling because it means conservation efforts are more haphazard and subject to the varying goals of individual landowners, others see it as an incredibly lucrative opportunity to invest in conservation. Take T. Boone Pickens, for example. Recognizing the economic potential of Texas ranches, he has made a name for himself (and a lot of money) by buying working livestock ranches, improving them with wildlife enhancement programs, and then reselling them. As he recently told The Land Report, “We always made a profit from the ranch sales. But what I really feel good about is knowing that we left the land in better shape than we found it.”