Improving the Farm Environment for Wild Life Page: 3
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IMPROVING THE FARM ENVIRONMENT FOR WILD LIFE 3
The purpose of this bulletin, then, is to discuss how the farmer
may encourage desirable wild creatures upon his lands, particular
reference being made to game species, and also to consider what
returns may compensate him for altering his premises and policies
in favor of game and other wild things to a greater extent than
would be justified as good agricultural practice if there were no com-
pensation. Attention is given to what may be termed the indirect
economic benefits resulting from the encouragement of wild life, as
well as to the more direct forms of return.
With regard to lands taken out of agriculture and so-called
marginal lands, this publication points out a use that can be
widely adopted with benefit both to the farmer and the public;
namely, production of revenue-yielding wild life. Marginal lands
are not restricted to arid, rocky, or other generally nonagricultural
regions. On the contrary they are present to some extent on most
farms. Creek and ditch banks, rough spots, nooks where fences or
other obstacles render cultivation impracticable, and other areas not
being used may be devoted to wild life. If treated as suggested
herein these areas will produce supplemental crops-fur and game-
that may be the means of increasing farm income (pp. 58 to 60).
The recommendations here made do not apply to all farms and not
necessarily to all parts of any one farm, but they do apply to areas
where increase of wild life is recognized as desirable-and these
should be far more extensive than at present. Some farming prac-
tices recommended differ from the "clean cultivation" ordinarily
considered essential on all farms, but it must be recognized that clean
cultivation and game do not go together. Wherever the presence of
wild life is to be encouraged throughout a farm or on special parts
of it, the practices here recommended are applicable.
REPRODUCTIVE CAPACITY OF WILD LIFE
The most important natural factor bearing upon wild-life man-
agement is the amazing reproductive capacity of living things.
Many interesting calculations have been made to show in how sur-
prisingly few generations, if unchecked, the cod would fill the seas,
or the house fly, the rat, or some other creature would overrun the
earth. Applied to game species on the farm, such calculations show
that if a pair of cottontails, for instance, had complete success in
rearing two litters of 6 young each season, there would be (assuming
an even division of the sexes and no fatalities) 98 rabbits the sec-
ond year, 686 the third, 4,802 the fourth, 33,614 the fifth, and so on.
If a pair of quail had one brood of 14 chicks each season, there
would be 128 birds the second year, 1,024 the third, 8,192 the fourth,
65 536 the fifth, and so on.
Thus, to aid efforts to increase wild life, there is available a re-
productive force almost explosive in its intensity. Unchecked,
there would soon be more quail, more rabbits, more of everything
than the environment could support. Each kind of wild life, plant
or animal, is trying to do the same thing; that is, to increase and
spread indefinitely. Like the trees in a wood, however, in reaching
for their place in the sun, the various groups overlap; the overlap-
ping parts obliterate each other; and none attain complete domina-
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Grange, Wallace B. (Wallace Byron), 1905-1987 & McAtee, W. L. (Waldo Lee), 1883-1962. Improving the Farm Environment for Wild Life, pamphlet, 1934; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc97259/m1/4/: accessed November 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.