Habitat Stories

Working Landscapes

Working Landscapes

Dr. Ray Iglay, along with other scientists in the Forest and Wildlife Research Center, researched practical ways for landowners of pine landscapes to increase biodiversity in working landscapes. The team researched treated intensively managed pine stands in Mississippi to determine if certain management practices could increase different species of wildlife and plants in the forest. They researched what kind of mid-rotation management would improve biodiversity with four different treatments that were applied to thinned pine stands in the 25-acre experimental units. The results showed that each treatment produced beneficial conditions, and the treatments offered multiple management options that all could be used on a landscape scale to create a forest that supports diversity of birds and sustainable forestry.

2018

Forest Health Across the Globe

Forest Health Across the Globe

According to the World Wildlife Federation, eighty percent of the world’s terrestrial plant and animal species make their home in the forest and a square kilometer of forest may be home to more than 1,000 species. That’s why scientists in the Forest and Wildlife Research Center have partnered with the U.S. Forest Service International Programs over the past several years to help improve vital forests globally. FWRC scientists have embarked on a three-year grant to study forest health and ecosystem services across the globe in the U.S., China, Cambodia, and Argentina, among other locations. Dr. Andy Kouba, professor and head of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, is the grant’s principal investigator and is involved in two of the grant’s projects, both in China. The first project, focused on giant pandas, includes Dr. Carrie Vance, associate research professor in biochemistry, molecular biology, entomology and plant pathology and MAFES scientist, and Dr. Guiming Wang, wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture professor and FWRC scientist.

The other project reintroduces Chinese giant salamanders back into the wild. Dr. Wes Neal, extension and research professor in wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture, alongside Dr. Peter Allen, professor, are on a project in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service International Programs, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Cambodian government to help start a community fishery with villages along the Sre Ambel River in Cambodia. Dr. Sandra Correa, wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture assistant professor, received funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, and its Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish, housed at MSU, to measure the project’s efficacy and continue other efforts along the Sre Ambel River. The grant also supports research led by Dr. John Riggins, professor in biochemistry, molecular biology, entomology and plant pathology and MAFES scientist, who is studying the European wood wasp, an invasive species affecting pine forests in Argentina. This research is funded by the U.S. Forest Service International Programs, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish.

2020

Covering the Basics

Covering the Basics

A common misconception of hunters is that plentiful food supply equals frequent visits by white-tailed deer or wild turkey to a specific habitat. Hunters plant food plots, place spin feeders, yet don’t see the wildlife activity for which they had planned. What is missing from the equation is an equally important factor—cover. That is why researchers in the MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center set out to study how vegetation characteristics including food availability and cover affect intensity of habitat use by animals. Dr. Bronson Strickland, the St. John Family Professor of Wildlife Management in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture and FWRC researcher, and Dr. Garrett Street, wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture associate professor and FWRC scientist, sought to understand the relationship between food and cover.

Research sites offered either exclusively cover, food, both, or neither. Eighty camera stations were placed and ran continuously over a year recording when an animal entered the area and the vegetation characteristics in proximity. The data was analyzed, and researchers used a mathematical equation to determine probability of wildlife occurrence. This work is funded through the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, the Forest and Wildlife Research Center, and the MSU Foundation’s Bulldog Forest.

2020