AR: Woodlands habitat improvement is a year-round project

JASPER – If you want to go forward with your wildlife habitat
improvement on your land, look at the past, said biologist Wesley
Wright of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Wright talked to landowners at a recent workshop in Jasper and
on the Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area.

Take a strong look at how your land has been used in the past,
Wright said. If it has been pasture land, that’s an indication that
there is a poor seed bank for native vegetation. If it is former
forest land that had been logged, that’s a sign of a good seed

With a favorable seed bank, bush hogging and disking can promote
the germination of natural plants that have been dormant, even
those not seen for many years. Former pastures may have been
dominated by fescue, a grass that is invasive and often chokes out
all other vegetation. This results in few native seeds for the

Land that has had trees that were cut and removed, however,
usually has a supply of native grasses, shrubs and bushes that will
spring up when there is an opportunity.

Wright said the components for working land for wildlife habitat
are bush hogging, disking, drilling and herbicides. After the
preparation, the desired new plantings can be done by drilling, and
the selective use of chemicals stimulates the sought-after
vegetation and knocks back species that are not wanted.

A variety of food for wildlife is needed, he said. Natural
vegetation can supply much of this, and the growths can be
supplemented by plantings such as sunflowers, buckwheat and alfalfa
that are used by many animals, including birds.

Landowners who want to improve their acreage to benefit wildlife
can call on professionals for suggestions and to draw up plans of
action. The advice from the AGFC and the Arkansas Forestry
Commission is free.

To reach a regional AGFC private lands biologist, phone
toll-free Beaver Lake 866-253-2508; Jonesboro, 877-972-5438;
Brinkley, 877-734-4581; Fort Smith, 877-478-1043; Monticello,
877-367-3559; Mayflower, 877-470-3650; Calico Rock, 877-297-4331;
Camden, 877-836-4512, and Hope, 877-777-5580.

For help from the Arkansas Forestry Commission, phone
501-296-1940 for its Little Rock headquarters or district offices:
870-367-6767, Monticello; 870-286-2139, Dierks; 870-633-6693,
Forrest City; 870-533-4641, Stamps; 501-332-2081, Malvern;
479-754-2741, Clarksville; 870-269-3441, Mountain View;
870-994-2187, Ash Flat, or 501-679-2806, Greenbrier.


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