Business parks can play a role in supporting endangered raptors

Research from Professor Charles Nilon, professor of fisheries and wildlife at the University of Missouri, and graduate student Jonathon Hogg, is providing useful information on how business campuses can contribute to protection of endangered and at risk species, specifically hawks and owls. Among the findings of the research:

  • raptors, or birds of prey, some of which are endangered species, typically live in environments that provide natural land cover, such as forests and grasslands.
  • protecting endangered raptor species helps maintain food chain balance and prevents overpopulation of common raptor prey, such as snakes and rodents.
  • as more businesses are built on the edges of urban areas, land where raptors once lived becomes industrialized, which raises concerns about the consequences of habitat destruction on raptor populations.
  • businesses can contribute to raptor preservation efforts by engaging in less development of lawn areas and increased planting or preservation of native grasslands and woodlots.
  • in areas with more natural land cover of tall grass, woodlands and tree cover, we saw a higher number of raptors. Simply adding certain trees and leaving tall grass can attract this wildlife.”
  • the research found that even minor landscape changes can make areas more welcoming to raptors.
  • raptors avoid business parks with large areas of pavement and lawns because they can’t find food, protection and nesting areas in these open spaces.
  • for each five percent increase in lawn cover, the number of raptors decreased by 12 percent. Urban businesses can contribute to raptor conservation efforts by planning and preserving grassland and woodlots, and by leaving lawn areas undeveloped.
  • smaller areas of non-lawn habitat throughout the property, or on the edges of a business park, are adequate to increase the presence of these birds. Retaining natural habitat on the edges of the development, on slopes, or along streams contributes to biodiversity in the urban landscape with virtually no impact on the usefulness of the property.

A summary of the research and a link to the full research paper, fee or subscription required, is available at http://research.missouri.edu/news/story.php?455

GallonDaily’s publisher maintains a natural restoration 60 hectare parcel of land in Haldimand County, Ontario, as a raptor preserve.

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