PART I: Introduction


Acidic Soil reaction with a pH value less than seven on a scale of 1 to 14.
Acre A unit of land equal to 4,840 square yards, or 43,560 square feet.
Aesthetic Pertaining to the natural beauty of an area or subject.
Alkaline Soil reaction with a pH value greater than seven on a scale of 1 to 14.
Altruistic Concerned with the welfare of others.
Annual  A plant with a life cycle which includes germination, growth, flowering and fruiting, then dieing, all taking place in one year.
Backfire A purposely ignited slow burning fire on the downwind side of the field often used in conjunction with other burn methods.
Baffle Cone usually made of metal used with a bird feeder to help deter squirrels.
Barren An area of droughty, sandy soils dominated by grasses, sparsely inhabited by low shrubs and small trees.
Bedrock Rock substrate that underlies all soil, sand, clay, gravel, and glacial material on the earth's surface.
Berm  A narrow embankment along a slope often used as dike or dam.
Biennial A plant that normally takes two years to reach sexual maturity, producing leaves in the first year, blooming and producing fruit in its second year, and then dying.
Biodiversity The variety of living organisms (plants, animals, and micro-organisms) upon the earth and the interactions and ecosystems they form and are part of.
Bog A peatland that receives water primarily from rainfall and is dominated by sedges, sphagnum mosses, low shrubs, and evergreen trees.
Brambles Any prickly shrub or bush, such as raspberry.
Broadcaster Equipment used to scatter seeds.
Brood The young of certain animals; especially, young birds and fowl hatched at one time and cared for by the same mother.
Browse Leaves, young shoots, and other vegetation that serve as food for animals; the act of eating such food.
Buffer An area surrounding a sensitive habitat such as a wetland, which lessens or absorbs the shock of an impact.
Calcareous Containing calcium carbonate, calcium, or lime, which typically causes an alkaline condition, (a pH greater than 7).
Canopy Any high covering that creates an umbrella of foliage.
Carnivore Any flesh-eating or predatory organism.
Carrying-Capacity The number of wildlife individuals or a population size that can be supported within a particular area.
Catkins A dense, often drooping flower cluster, consisting of small scale-like flowers aggregated into short, tubular spikes.
Clearcutting A technique used in even-aged timber management that involves one cut, and which may remove an entire stand.
Clutch The number of eggs produced or incubated at one time.
Colony A group of the same kind of animals or plants living or growing together.
Community A group of plants and animals living in a specific region living under relatively similar conditions; and the region or habitat in which they live, i.e., forest community.
Conifer Any of various predominately evergreen, cone-bearing trees and shrubs such as a pine, spruce, hemlock, fir, and juniper or yew.
Conservation Human use and stewardship of the environment such that natural resources and biodiversity are self-sustaining.
Conservation District (CD) A local government office which provides advice and assistance to landowners regarding land use practices.
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) A federal program that offers annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term vegetative covers on eligible land.
Cool Season Grasses Grasses that develop most rapidly during spring and fall when cool nights follow warm days.
Competition A variety of plants or animals vying for certain resources, such as food, moisture, nutrients, or sunlight.
Corridor A tract of land forming a passageway; an ecological connection between two areas.
Cover (Shelter) Part of an animal’s environment that enhances survival or reproduction, such as winter or nesting cover.
Creosote A yellowish to greenish-brown oily liquid obtained from coal tar and used as a wood preservative and disinfectant.
Cultipacker Equipment used to firm and press the soil before planting. May also be used to push seeds into ground after broadcasting.
Cultivate To improve or prepare land as by plowing; to till; to loosen soil around growing plants.
Culvert A drain crossing under a road or embankment.
Deciduous A woody plant that sheds or loses foliage at the end of the growing season.
Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) A state agency with the legal mandate for management and protection of the state's environment.
Department of Natural Resources (DNR) A state agency with the legal mandate for management and protection of the state's natural resources.
Dibble Bar A pointed tool or bar used to make holes in soil; used most often for planting tree or shrub seedlings, bulbs, and plant sets.
Dike An embankment of earth and rock; especially, a levee built to hold water.
Disking A technique that breaks-up the soil in preparation for planting.
Ditch Plug Filling a portion of the drainage ditch to natural ground level.
Diversity Variety.
Dormant In a relatively inactive or resting condition in which some metabolic processes are slowed down or suspended.
Draw-Down Remove or decrease water levels within a wetland.
Drumming Log A fallen log on which a male ruffed grouse performs his courtship display.
Duff A build-up of organic material, such as dead grass, leaves, conifer needles, and other plant parts.
Ecology The study of the relationship between organisms and their environment.
Ecosystem An ecological community together with its physical environment considered as a unit.
Edge Where two different vegetation or community types meet, i.e., woodland and grassland. Also called an ecotone.
Emergent Vegetation Aquatic plants which have some portion of the plant extended out of the water.
Endangered Species A species in danger of becoming extinct within a portion or all of its range.
Environment The living and non-living components that comprise one's surroundings.
Erosion Process by which soil or rock material is worn or broken down and transported by water, ice, wind, or gravity.
Even-aged Timber Management Type of forest regeneration management practice that creates stands consisting of shade intolerant trees of the same age class. Includes clearcutting, seed tree, and shelterwood techniques.
Evergreen Having foliage that persists and remains green throughout the year, such as pine, spruce, or juniper.
Exotic Species A plant or animal that is not native to a particular area.
Fallow Plowed and tilled but left unseeded during a growing season.
Fauna Animals.
Fen A type of peatland that receives mineral-rich inputs of ground or surface water dominated by sedges, other grass-like vegetation, and woody plants such as larch, white cedar, and shrubby cinquefoil.
Fencerow Rows of trees, conifer, shrubs, or groundcovers that provide food and cover for wildlife.
Feral Existing in a wild or untamed state; especially having reverted to such a state from domestication, i.e., feral cat.
Field Tiles (Drainage Tiles) Perforated plastic or clay pipes that are buried under the surface of the ground to facilitate drainage.
Flank Fire A fire ignited on the sides of the burn site parallel to the wind direction.
Floodplain A plain bordering a river, subject to flooding over various time intervals or cycles, with the areas closest to the river being flooded more often.
Flora Plants.
Forage Plant material that serves as food for animals; the act of looking or searching for such food.
Forb Any herbaceous plant other than a grass, tree, or shrub, i.e., wildflowers.
Fragmentation (Land) The act or process of splitting land into smaller or different pieces, both physically and ecologically.
Furrow A long, narrow, shallow trench made in the ground by a plow or other implement.
Germination The process by which a seed sprouts after being dormant and attaining sufficient moisture to sprout.
Girdling A method used to kill trees in which two-inch rings are cut around a tree through the bark and growth layer i.e., to create a snag.
Grit Fine sand or gravel that is swallowed by birds and retained in their gizzards to grind up their food.
Groundwater Water that exists below the surface of the ground and fills interconnected pores in the soil and cracks in the rocks.
Group Selection Technique used in uneven-aged timber management that selects groups of trees for harvesting within a stand.
Habitat The area or type of environment in which a plant or animal or their population normally lives or occurs.
Hardwood Generally, a tree or shrub with broad, deciduous leaves.
Headfire A purposely ignited fire burning with the wind.
Hedgerow Rows of trees and shrubs that form a border and can provide food and cover for wildlife.
Herbaceous Non-woody vegetation, i.e. grass or forbs.
Herbicide A chemical used to kill plants.
Herbivore Any organism feeding on plants.
Hydric Soil A soil that is water saturated through a significant part of the growing season, or flooded long enough to eliminate oxygen in the root zone.
Hydrology Distribution and circulation of water within an area; presence of water.
Idle Field An inactive or fallow agriculutural field.
Insecticide A chemical used to kill insects.
Interseeding The process of sowing seeds into the existing vegetation.
Intolerant Unable to withstand or endure adverse environmental conditions, i.e., shade, drought.
Landscape The aspect or formation of the land characteristic of a particular area or region.
Legume Pod-bearing plant, characterized by their fruits having a single-cavity ovary, such as peas, beans, and clovers. Legumes contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria in their root nodules.
Limiting Factors When one or more habitat components are in limited supply, and is not available to support a species, this component is considered a limiting factor.
Marsh Shallow-water areas that sustain water-loving plants such as cattail, sedge, arrowhead, bulrush, water-lily and pondweeds.
Mast Soft mast - the berries or fruit of shrubs and trees; Hard mast - the acorns or nuts of shrubs and trees.
Meadow A tract of grassland, either natural or used as pasture or for growing hay.
Mesic Soil that is moderately moist, midway between droughty (xeric) and saturated (hydric).
Mineral Soil Any soil consisting primarily of sand, silt, or clay materials rather than organic matter.
Muck Dark-colored, finely textured, well-decomposed organic soil with little or no recognizable fiber.
Mulch A protective covering of various substances, especially organic, placed around plants to prevent evaporation of moisture, freezing of roots, and to control weeds.
Native A plant or animal originating, growing, or produced in a certain place; Indigenous as opposed to exotic.
Natural Resource Conservation Service A unit of the federal U.S. Department of Agriculture that provides assistance to landowners to help conserve, improve, and sustain our resources and environment.
No-till Drill Equipment used for planting crops that require no seed bed preparation. Opens the soil for seed placement at the intended depth.
Nutrient Any mineral, compound, or element that sustains biological growth or development.
Old-Growth Generally, a forest stand that has reached a stage of extreme maturity.
Omnivore Any organism that eats both plants and animals.
Organic Pertaining to, or derived from living organisms.
Organic Soil Soil derived from once living organisms, such as peat or muck.
Organism Any living plant or animal.
Overstory Crown or canopy of branches and leaves that decreases the amount of sunlight reaching the ground.
Peat A low density, slightly decomposed, fibrous organic soil composed largely of plant material, such as sphagnum moss, reeds, and sedge.
Perennial A plant having a life span of more than two years.
Perimeter Fire A burning method that starts with a backfire, followed by lighting the sides, and finished by lighting the upwind side of the burn site, called the head of the site.
Pesticide A chemical used to kill fungi, insects, plants, or rodents.
pH A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution based on a scale from 1 to 14; numerically equal to seven for a neutral solution.
Pioneer Species An animal or plant species that establishes itself in an environment where it did not exist, or a species that colonizes an area during an early successional phase i.e, aspen establishing itself within an idle field.
Poles (Tree) A tree 5 to 9 inches diameter at breast height (dbh).
Pothole A circular depression within a landscape.
Prairie An extensive area of flat or rolling grassland, vaarying from open largely treeless grasslands to savannas, and whose communities are moatly fire dependent for their maintenance.
Predator An animal that lives by preying upon other animal species.
Prescribed Burn A planned fire, burning with a specific purpose.
Preservation To keep in an unaltered condition; maintain in an unchanged form, or to allow to exist subject to natural environmental conditions.
Prey Any creatures killed for food.
Propagation Increase or spread by natural reproduction.
Regeneration The regrowth of lost or destroyed vegetation and ecological communities.
Restoration The act of putting something back into a prior condition.
Rip-Rap A layer of medium to large rocks that is used to stabilize banks along ponds, lakes, rivers, and reservoirs.
Riparian The area of land that is adjacent to a stream, river, or other type of watercourse.
Roost A place where birds rest or sleep.
Sapling A young tree less than five inches diameter at breast height (dbh) and less than or equal to 20 feet in height.
Savanna A transitional grassy area with scattered trees and shrubs positioned between a grassland and a forest, an area usually with no more than 50% trees.
Sawtimber (Trees) A tree ten inches or larger in diameter at breast height (dbh).
Seed Tree Technique Technique used in even-aged timber management that involves removing an entire stand in one cut, while leaving a number of trees behind to provide seed for regeneration.
Seep A spot where water slowly trickles out of the ground that often forms a pool.
Shelter (Cover) Part of an animal’s environment that enhances survival or reproduction, such as winter or nesting cover.
Shelterwood Technique Technique used in even-aged timber management that involves a series of two or more thinnings over 15 to 30 years, and is used to provide protection and shade for the regeneration area.
Shrub A woody plant usually branched several times at or near the base giving a bushy appearance, usually less than 20 feet tall.
Single-tree selection Technique used in uneven-aged timber management that selects single trees within a stand for harvesting.
Slash Branches or other woody residue left on the ground after cutting a tree.
Snag A standing dead or decaying tree, important for providing nesting, and feeding sites for wildlife.
Space The area a species needs to survive.
Species A group of interbreeding populations that are more or less reproductively isolated from all other kinds of organisms.
Spring Water with a single concentrated source that has a fast discharge rate and flows to the surface, a groundwater source site.
Stand An area composed of trees that are similar in type, or age, or size.
Stewardship (Land) To care for and manage land in a way that maintains its ecological integrity for the benefit of present and future generations; an essential element of conservation.
Strip Fire Series of lit strips burning only one at a time, starting at the downwind side of the site.
Stubble Fields The remains of stems following the harvest of a field.
Succession A process in which one habitat or community type changes into a different stage over time.
Sucker (root) A means of vegetation reproduction in which some trees and shrubs send up new sprouts from their root system or rhizomes.
Submergent Vegetation Aquatic plants that live and grow entirely below the water surface, such as pondweeds, and coontail.
Suet High-energy winter food created from fat derived from cattle, sheep or deer. 
Swamp A forested wetland.
Tension Zone An ecological line running from Muskegon to Saginaw Bay that identifies the change in climate, geology, and soil.
Thatch The dead tops of clovers, grasses, and wildflowers.
Threatened Species One that is likely to become endangered in the near future over most of its range.
Tolerant Able to withstand or endure an adverse environmental condition, i.e., shade, drought.
Topography Detailed and accurate description of a place or region outlining such landform characteristics as elevation, slopes, and water courses.
Toxins A substance poisonous to organisms.
Trade-off Exchange of one thing for another; especially, the giving up of something for another that is regarded as more desirable.
Transpiration The process in which vapor is released through the pores of plant tissue, simultaneously causing water to be absorbed by the roots.
Understory Assortment of plants that grow underneath the canopy as ground cover, forbs, and shrubs.
Uneven-aged timber management Type of forest regeneration management practice that creates stands consisting mostly of shade tolerant trees of the varying age and size classes. Includes group and single tree selection techniques. 
United States Forestry Service (USFS) A unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture with the legal mandate to manage the nation's national forests.
Upland A higher area that does not hold water for an extended period of time (less than two weeks).
Vermiculite A mineral containing mica used as a medium for starting seedlings and root cuttings. The medium supplies plants, water, and air pockets within the soil helpful in growing and developing dense root systems. Also mixed with seeds to facilitate distribution and planting.
Warm Season Grasses Grasses that develop most rapidly during the summer when warm nights follow hot days.
Watershed A land region which drains into a river, stream, creek, or body of water.
Weed A plant considered undesirable, unattractive, or troublesome; a plant growing where it is not desired.
Wetland An area distinguished by the presence of water at or near the surface, having unique soil conditions, and supporting vegetation adapted to wet conditions.
Wildlife Wild animals including birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, and invertebrates.
Woodlot A tract of forest.
Xeric Pertaining to conditions of extreme dryness.

Last Revised: September 29, 1999

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

You can download and print each chapter or section in its original format.
The material is NOT copyrighted, however, please use the following citation:

Sargent, M.S and Carter, K.S., ed. 1999. Managing Michigan Wildlife: A Landowners Guide.  Michigan United Conservation Clubs, East Lansing, MI. 297pp.

Michigan United Conservation Clubs

This partnership was formed between both private and public organizations in order to address private lands wildlife issues. Individuals share resources, information, and expertise. This landowner’s guide has been a combined effort between these groups working towards one goal: Natural Resources Education. We hope this manual provides you with the knowledge and the motivation to make positive changes for our environment.