Posts tagged with private land stewardship. View all posts

The ESA and the Role of Private Lands with Tiffany McFarland

One of the most important aspects of our work is sharing conservation knowledge and experiences with private landowners, citizen scientists, and policymakers. This exchange with the public is crucial for any kind of conservation success, and we are honored to share our findings through our researchers, experts, and communicators. For the last 15 years, one of NRI’s research associates, Tiffany McFarland, has been involved with the research and management of endangered species. This spring, she had the opportunity to visit with land stewards about the role of private lands and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Ranching & Wildlife Expo, where she shared background information about the ESA and why private land managers are so important to ensuring the longevity of rare species.

Sierra: Ocelots Find an Unlikely Haven in South Texas

A thick humidity lingers during most seasons in South Texas. Spiny hackberry, blackbrush, and other thorny plants create dense walls of vegetation. The Texas sun shines often, dousing the hundreds of thousands of acres of ranchland in near-white light. But upon closer look, one might catch a flash of a golden fur coat, spotted with black blotches and bands or big, luminous eyes peeking between a thicket of shrubland. These wild cats are ocelots—and they’re among the only two small populations remaining in the entire nation.

NRI adds to landowner resources on carbon markets

AgriLife Today — Researchers with the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, a unit of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the Department of Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and others recently published Rangeland Carbon Markets, a detailed report aimed at helping Texans understand the rapidly evolving domain of voluntary carbon markets.

Energy Today: Buffalo for the Broken Heart

Almost all the pastures I looked at were overgrazed. But some grazing is necessary, both economically and in the interests of wildlife habitat. I learned that the health of the pasture is not only a function of grazing pressure, but of how that pressure is applied. Ten years later, when I got the chance, I divided my new ranch into nine pastures and rotated the cattle through them quickly, because, being domestic, and thus deprived of the virtues of selective evolution, they weren’t suited for grazing the pastures evenly. They didn’t utilize all the grasses and forbs unless forced to, and when allowed to wander freely, they concentrated—that is to say, ruined—huge quantities of grass that wild species need. On the Great Plains grass is synonymous with wildlife habitat. When healthy, grass supplies food, shelter, escape cover, and a place to reproduce for almost everything that lives out here. Humans are no exception.

Announcing the new statewide assessment: Putting a dollar amount to Texas ecosystem services

Promoting the long-term sustainability and stewardship of natural resources begins with a basic understanding of ecosystem services and their public benefits. Ideally, the ability to assign monetary value can illustrate the importance of their fundamental contributions to society. An analysis like this can serve to support land conservation strategies and policies to promote the conservation of open spaces and natural resources.

Leopold Live! Chapter 2 Recap: Erosion Control

Lights, camera, action! We’re back with our latest episode of Leopold Live!: Chapter 2 at the Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve.  We spoke with Bamberger’s ranch manager, Steven Fulton, about erosion control methods and how you can implement these practices for the benefit of soil and wildlife on the land. We had a great time talking about this tool you can use to qualify for the wildlife tax valuation program here in Texas.

Leopold Live! Chapter 2 Recap: Grassland Preparation for Pollinators

We’re back with our newest episode of Leopold Live!: Chapter 2 from the Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve.  We truly enjoyed getting to connect with you to talk about another wildlife management tool that you can add to your stewardship toolbox. In this episode we talked with the ranch’s resident zoologist, Jared Holmes, about native grasslands and how they can be used to benefit pollinator species on your property.

Leopold Live! Chapter 2 Recap: Cowbird Trapping

We’re back with our latest installment of Leopold Live!: Chapter 2 at the Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve, and we greatly enjoyed connecting with you to talk about wildlife management techniques. In this episode we spoke with the Bamberger Ranch’s resident ornithologist, Christina Farrell, about cowbird trapping and how it can be used to benefit native bird species on your property. Under the wildlife tax valuation program in Texas, cowbird trapping is listed as a qualifying management practice in the predator control category. But why? First we need to dig a little bit into the natural history of this species.

Leopold Live! Chapter 2 Recap: Herbicides and Brush Management

This past month we premiered our seventh episode of Leopold Live!: Chapter 2 with our wonderful partners at the Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve, and we truly enjoyed connecting with you to talk about private land stewardship here in Texas. In this latest episode we spoke with Bamberger’s ranch manager, Steven Fulton, about herbicides and brush management and how this tool can help you manage wildlife habitat on your landscape.

Leopold Live! Chapter 2: Food Stations Recap

Lights, camera, Leopold Live! Last month we premiered the fourth episode of Leopold Live!: Chapter 2 with our incredible partners at Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve, and we truly enjoyed getting to share even more about wildlife management practices through this series. Our hosts, Dr. Roel Lopez and Dr. April Sansom, introduced this new chapter of Leopold Live! and explained how new episodes will be a little different from what we covered in Chapter 1.

Leopold Live! Chapter 2: Bluebird Boxes Recap

Lights, camera, Leopold Live! Last month we premiered our second episode of Leopold Live!: Chapter 2 with our incredible partners at Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve, and we truly enjoyed connecting with you again as we continue with the series. Our usual hosts, Dr. Roel Lopez (TAMU NRI) and April Sansom (Bamberger Ranch), opened the episode by introducing this new chapter of Leopold Live! and explaining how these upcoming episodes will be a little different from what we covered Chapter 1.

Pillars of Knowledge in Quail Management: R-Selection

In the book “Texas Quails,” the authors discuss the scientific aspects of quail management and highlight four knowledge-based tenets which should inform any quail management decision. These “pillars of knowledge” include r-selection, successional affiliation, adaptive plasticity, and weather influences. In this new blog series, we will look at each of these pillars individually and explain why they should be the fundamental tools for any quail-minded manager.

Resources for New Landowners: Aldo Leopold's Five Tools of Wildlife Management

In Game Management, Aldo Leopold wrote, “Are we too poor in purse or spirit to apply some of it to keep the land pleasant to see, and good to live in?” This conveys a simple truth for both green and veteran landowners: land management may require hard work, but generates value for the land and our spirits. The most effective land management is that which is intentional.

From Facebook timeline to longleaf lifeline

Through a partnership between the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute and the Texas Longleaf Taskforce, a counterpart of the America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative working to restore longleaf pine ecosystems on private and public forestlands in Texas, the Landowner Longleaf Challenge launched in March of this year gaining an unrivaled momentum over the last 5 months. 

Resources for new landowners: Vegetation

After reviewing the complexities of soil management, gaining knowledge about vegetation is the next crucial step in a new landowner’s management education. Let's dive into the different plant ID resources at your disposal and take an intentional look at the uses of vegetation for wildlife and practical ways to manage your property to encourage the right kind of plant growth.

Resources for New Landowners: Soil Management

Private Land Stewardship is a core component of our mission at the NRI, and our goal is to provide landowners with the resources they need to better care for their land. For new or future landowners, the best time to gather knowledge and information is before making management decisions that will have lasting effects on the land. Thinking of well-managed land conjures up images of lush, green fields and healthy wildlife populations, but it is important to stop and consider where it all begins—with the cultivation of healthy soils.

Benefits of Multispecies Management on Private Lands

Not surprisingly, about 94% of Texas is privately owned—84% of that land is considered working lands (farm, range and timberland) making private landowners the stewards with the largest influence over natural resources compared to public lands. As we watch Texas experience the largest inter-generational change in landownership ever experienced, how landowners continue the legacy of land management is up to them, making education the first priority.

Using Mobile Apps to Assist in Grazing Management

Texas has over 142M acres of open lands (i.e., working lands) with the majority designated as grazing lands for various livestock. Texas leads the nation in sheep, goat and cattle production with over 94M head of cattle alone. Even with this strong representation, landowners often mix livestock production and wildlife management on the same property. Other landowners now primarily manage for wildlife on an additional 3.3M acres which helps maintain ecological functions of the state’s grasslands and forests. Given the preponderance of livestock and growing interest in wildlife management, it’s easy to understand why grazing management is essential for sustaining and improving open lands in Texas.

Private Land Stewardship: The Importance of Knowing Your Animals

It is important as a landowner to know which wildlife species frequent your property and how to alter your management practices in order to benefit those animals. Gaining a better understanding of common wildlife as well as species you may never encounter will not only make you a more informed wildlife enthusiast, it can provide you with a well-rounded approach to private land stewardship. Most landowners commonly observe generalist species like white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginanus) or raccoons (Procyon lotor) on their property, but among the ecoregions of Texas there is vast diversity in habitat that many species call home. 

Identifying and Documenting Species with iNaturalist: a great tool for private land stewards

There are many resources you can access to expand your knowledge of the species in your area, but few are more accessible than those on your phone. As citizen science continues to expand with the help of technology, apps are being developed with the sole purpose of helping amateur naturalists and landowners identify and better understand the plants and animals on their property.

Private Land Stewardship and Plants

The plant community on a property determines what habitat types are available for wildlife and how it can be grazed, so familiarity with those plants is essential for any land steward. Here we provide tips and tools that will help you learn to recognize your resident plant species and incorporate that knowledge into an effective management plan.

Private Land Stewardship Starts with Soils

Soils are the foundation of healthy habitat and can make or break any land management plan. Regional differences in soil structure and composition play a major role in determining which management strategies will succeed or fail, and familiarity with your soil is the first step toward meeting your land stewardship goals. Here we provide contacts and resources to help you take that step.