U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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Date of this Version



Published by the United States Department of Agriculture in Farmers' Bulletin No. 1719 (1934) 64 p.


As farms replace virgin lands, whether forest or swamp, marsh or prairie, conditions affecting wild life are revolutionized. Some creatures, especially the larger ones, disappear. Others are benefited, at least during the earlier stages of agriculture, and increase in numbers. This is true of nearly all birds up to the size of the crow and of mammals to that of the rabbit. As agriculture becomes more intensive, however, and woods are cut down, hedgerows eliminated, and rough nooks here and there brought under cultivation, conditions become unfavorable for the smaller forms of wild life.

Uniform mature forest, uniform swamp, or marsh, or prairie-each harbors only a limited fauna. Pioneer agriculture-partially clearing and draining the . country, breaking some soil, leaving other idle- diversifies conditions and permits increase in both variety and abundance of wild life. Intensive cultivation, however, brings another kind of uniformity, and this is a uniformity of barrenness, so far as wild life is concerned.

When nearly all the land on a large area is cultivated and practically all tree and shrub growth has been eliminated, agriculture has certainly been intensified to its own disadvantage. Then comes the need for encouraging the presence of wild life, a thing eminently worth doing for several reasons. Wild life is an asset to the farm, for the services of birds and other animals as insect destroyers, for the dollars and cents value of fur animals and game, and for the interesting and inspiring presence of the wild creatures and of the vegetation required to harbor them. Moreover, the "wild farming" of game is a fascinating activity.

This bulletin does not apply to conditions on all farms, and not necessarily to all parts of anyone farm, but wherever an increase in the abundance of farm wild life is to be encouraged (and this should be far more general) the recommendations here set forth will be useful.